Ohio Needs Workers Skilled in Clean Energy Economy, Says Coalition Group

Jan. 25, 2010
The Apollo Alliance recommends strengthening Ohio's existing training infrastructure rather than investing in new programs.

In a report released on Jan. 25, "Mapping Green Career Pathways: Job Training Opportunities and Infrastructure in Ohio" the Apollo Alliance and Policy Matters Ohio points out that jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors are projected to account for 55% of all new jobs in the emerging renewable energy and efficiency industries.

"The demand for clean energy workers is real and will only grow as federal, regional and state climate and energy policies move forward," said Elena Foshay, research associate for the Apollo Alliance and a co-author of the report. The Apollo Alliance is a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution.

"However, for Ohio to take full advantage of this job creation potential, it will need workers whose skills match the needs of the employers and industries of the clean energy economy," explained Foshay.

Ohio has lost more than 106,000 manufacturing jobs and 31,000 construction jobs in the last year alone.

Mapping Green Career Pathways identifies existing training programs that represent key elements of an integrated green workforce development system. According to the report, many of the elements of a green training infrastructure already exist in Ohio, but there are still gaps along the green career pathway that must be filled through stronger, more integrated training programs. To meet the growing demand for workers in the clean energy economy, the report proposes a series of policy recommendations that include:

  • Filling in gaps by investing in existing programs, such as high school career-technical education and pre-apprenticeship training, rather than investing in new and sometimes unnecessary programs.
  • Breaking down silos and better integrating environmental, economic and workforce goals at the federal, state and local levels, so that investments in new training programs are driven by actual job growth.
  • Conditioning federal, state and local training grants and department of development funds on interagency collaboration, and prioritizing partnerships between training providers, unions, employers and Workforce Investment Boards.
  • Investing in career pathway models that emphasize flexibility so workers can easily move in and out of classroom-based training and employment.

"What's most important in Ohio is to develop green career pathways that help job seekers move from entry-level work into higher-paid, more specialized positions," said Piet van Lier, researcher at Policy Matters and report co-author.

The full report is available at www.ApolloAlliance.org

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