Friday, October 2, 2009

CEO wary of green jobs, market The Workplace exec addresses role of economic recovery on employment opportunities By Richard Lee

Solar, Wind, Bio, Energy News And Commentary By_Green Earl, 30 year Pioneer In Conservation & Solar Energy

CEO wary of green jobs, market
The Workplace exec addresses role of economic recovery on employment opportunities
By Richard Lee

STAFF WRITER For The Newstimes

Updated: 10/01/2009 09:04:18 PM EDT

An economy bolstered by jobs focused on improving the environment offers promise for Connecticut, but the head of The Workplace Inc. in Bridgeport wants to be certain there is work for its program's graduates.

Using federal funds to train the unemployed or under-employed is an option, Joseph Carbone, president and chief executive officer of the career development organization, told 65 attendees Wednesday night at "Green Jobs: Preparing for the New Economy," hosted by Soundwaters at the Stamford branch of the University of Connecticut.

"We have to make sure those jobs will be there. In many respects, we have to wait for the market," Carbone said.

Green jobs are occupations that preserve, restore or improve the environment and result in saving energy, advancing new energy-efficient technologies, and fostering a more sustainable regional and national energy system, according to The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.

The Workplace is using funds from the Environmental Protection Agency for brownfield remediation job-training programs in Norwalk and the Naugatuck Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton. Previous programs were conducted in Bridgeport, Stamford and the Naugatuck Valley.

The program has graduated 147 and many have found jobs in the field.

The Workplace recently received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, administered over three years, to provide training to
military veterans to pursue employment in positions such as weatherization technician, energy auditor, renewable energy technician, asbestos supervisor and hazardous waste technician.

On Tuesday, The Workplace applied for $4 million in federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for green job training that would start with basic education needs.

"We're putting a lot of this money in high-poverty areas," Carbone said.

Although the Obama administration has said green jobs will play a role in reviving the economy, there has to be a need for those products and services, Carbone said.

"The economy starts with us. Folks in the community have to be conscious of that," he said. "The market has to be the generator. Creating opportunity and the jobs will follow."

In July, The Workplace issued a report on preparing the work force for green-collar jobs and the training needed to give people the best chance at finding work.

William Leahy, chief executive director for operations at the institute, told the audience that 42,000 jobs could be created in Connecticut through green job-training efforts.

"We need to promote domestic, renewable energy resources and advanced technologies. This is a good place for domestic jobs," Leahy said, noting that manufacturers in the state must "get up to speed" in creating green products.

Connecticut has become a leader in fuel-cell development through United Technologies Corp. and Danbury-based Fuel Cell Energy Inc., while Fairfield-based General Electric Co. is a key player as a wind-energy finance source and developer, he said. Solar-energy technology also is growing rapidly in Connecticut as a business segment.

The goal is to create long-term, stable jobs that cannot be exported, Leahy said.

"The economy side of it is very important, but on the other side, we're doing it because it's the right thing to do," Carbone said.

It is important that the rhetoric Americans are hearing about green jobs results in a boost in employment, said Adam Hinman, Stamford program coordinator for the Student Conservation Association, a national organization that provides young people with hands-on conservation service opportunities.

He said he was pleased to hear Carbone and Leahy define green jobs, cautioning that it can become a buzzword used by businesses to market their products and services.

Green-job creation hinges on market

Thanks For The Visit_Green Earl

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