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Washington State: A Leader in Green Jobs Training Initiatives

by Beth Doglio

Over the last several years, Washington has been a leader in pioneering policies that drive investment in the clean energy economy. The state has a clean car standard and a renewable electricity standard to increase the amount of renewables and wean the state off foreign oil imports.

In 2007, Governor Gregoire issued an Executive Order, later affirmed by the state Legislature in SB 6001, creating goals to reduce Washington's global warming pollution and increase the number of green jobs in the state to 25,000 by 2020. This important policy is in line with the Governor's commitment to establish Washington as a leader in clean energy technology and ensure the state's workforce is trained and ready to meet this opportunity.

In 2008, E2SHB 2815 Climate Action and Green Jobs was passed by the legislature. When fully implemented, it will create the infrastructure necessary to ensure that these goals will be met. In addition to directing the state to develop a program to reduce our global warming pollution, the bill established the first statewide green jobs training program in the country.

In 2009 Washington legislators will be asked to invest $10 million in the state's clean energy future by funding the green jobs opportunity grants. Repowering Washington demands a huge, new pool of well-trained workers. Training investments are especially important during this national economic downturn, when more people seek to attend colleges and vocational programs to acquire new training. Strategic investment now can create a path to jobs in tomorrow's clean, green economy. Investing in the state's green jobs training program would provide much needed economic stimulus for the state and help to ensure that Washington's future is more prosperous for more folks than the fossil fuel economy of the past.

Approving this critical funding would provide financial aid and support for students to be trained in green careers; allow community colleges, apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to develop curriculum for clean energy training programs; and, create dialogue with industries in growing clean energy sectors to ensure the state is providing smart training that will help grow a clean energy future. Investing today in Washington's future workforce is essential to our long-term prosperity and would create immediate opportunity for those in need of work right now.

At the federal level the Green Jobs Act was created in the 2007 Energy Act, but has not been funded. If Congress appropriated $250 million to fund this program it would dovetail nicely with our work at the state level. W

For more information contact, Beth Doglio, Climate Solutions, 360-352-1763 x29 (beth@climatesolutions.org) or Jessica Finn Coven, Climate Solutions, 206-443-9570 x20 (jessica@climatesolutions.org).

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Updated 2015/01/07 21:14:22