A host of the Discovery Channel’s new “Planet Green” channel, which dedicates itself to earth-friendly causes, has written a pretty good opinion piece, urging the passage of a measure before Congress that will help create jobs in the renewable energy sector.
In the piece on ItsGettingHotinHere.org titled, “Green-Collar Jobs or Rust-Belt Future,” model and environmental scientist (I know, I almost couldn’t believe the title when I wrote it!) Summer Rayne asks people to call their senators and tell them to vote for the Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act (iCAP). She answers the question: how will the bill help create jobs?:
Simple, it would create the jobs of the future, new local jobs, jobs that cannot be outsourced—in other words, Green Jobs. And these jobs span the gamut, yet with one important thing in common. From installing solar panels and constructing transit lines to retrofitting buildings for energy-efficiency, reclaiming mine sites, and refining vegetable waste oil into biodiesel, all these jobs benefit the economy and improve our environment.
As a child, I learned first-hand what struggling families go through, growing up in a single-parent household in Northeastern Pennsylvania. For the latter part of my childhood, I was raised by my mom, who armed with no more than a high school degree had to take two jobs and maintain a 14-16 hour workday. We lived paycheck to paycheck and without a refrigerator, phone, or television for quite some time—not by choice, but by necessity. Finally, before I even turned 15, to find a better job that could sustain us and my dream of a college education, she had to make a choice—leave Pennsylvania for greener pastures.
It shouldn’t have to be that way. Pennsylvania and other struggling areas should be a land of opportunity. Much of the U.S. workforce is ideally suited to green-collar work—many are middle-skill jobs that are well within reach for low income workers if they have access to effective training programs and support. Whether it’s learning the new skills needed to become a renewable energy technician or retraining workers for a clean energy economy, i.e., fixing an electric engine, our universities, technical schools, businesses and governments need to lead the way.
Rayne goes on to point out that if the bill passes, there could be $125 million annually for green jobs training, providing 30,000-35,000 jobs that won’t be outsourced to some foreign shore.