State Rep Pushes Green Jobs Legislation

The Green Jobs Pilot Program Act would create thousands of “green jobs” in Oklahoma, according to its author.
And, not the agricultural kind of green jobs.
The process to train a workforce will create several thousand jobs, many of which will spin off into small business ventures, said state Rep. Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa.
The proposal, House Bill 1682, authored by Scott, and would create the Green Jobs Pilot Program Act. It recently gained unanimous approval of a state House committee and has moved to the House.
The bill would direct the State Board of Career and Technology Education to establish an energy efficiency and renewable energy worker training pilot program. The program would be targeted an individuals needing updated training, the unemployed, or the economically and socially disadvantaged.
“Particularly beneficial for our under served urban and rural areas,” he said, “I think the program complements existing gains that have been made within the Career Tech system but also sends a message to the country that we’re ready for private and federal investments in our state, building on our energy heritage with energy conservation and renewable fuels jobs.”
The Green Jobs Pilot Program Act is really a “partnership”-driven effort, he said.
“By creating this partnership, we strengthen our application for federal stimulus dollars that encourage residential and commercial retrofits,” Scott said.
Nationwide, workers at every skill level will be in high demand and enjoy greater job security in key industries essential to building a clean-energy economy in America and fighting global warming, according to a report issued last year from a coalition of conservation and labor groups.
The report also helps define “green jobs,” noting that hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. already possess the vast majority of skills and occupations necessary to reduce global warming and make the shift to a clean energy economy.
The groups writing the reports are Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute, of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, commissioned by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It is being pushed by the Green Jobs for America Campaign, a partnership of the Sierra Club, Blue Green Alliance, United Steelworkers, NRDC and the Center for American Progress and Green for All.
“Our economy is shedding jobs every day, with thousands needing new employment or training,” said Scott. “I believe the field of renewable energy holds promise for those workers and will provide many new employment opportunities in the coming years. It makes sense to train that workforce in Oklahoma if we want to be on the front edge of this economic growth opportunity.”
The measure could leverage future federal dollars from the stimulus into job training and job creation in emerging fields such as energy smart heating, ventilating, and air conditioning; wind; solar power; biofuels; smart building construction; residential/commercial weatherization; and insulation.
It’s been estimated that it would cost $170,000 for CareerTech to put the classroom curriculum together.
“I think we can lower the program costs by bringing in some of the local businesses and trades,” Scott said.
“Companies like Sun City Solar Energy, Local 64 Insulators and Rebuilding Together Tulsa are offering expert instruction on weatherization, energy star HVAC, solar and wind turbine work,” Scott said. “Also, by creating this partnership we strengthen our application for federal stimulus dollars that encourage residential and commercial retrofits.
“We’re seeing an increase in the Weatherization budget from DOE last year, going from $2.5 million to $5.5 million, sending a clear signal the financial commitment is for real,” Scott said. The White House has reported that 42,000 jobs will be formed or saved in Oklahoma over the next few years by the stimulus and even if we can get 2,000 of these jobs oriented towards green jobs…” ?′

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