WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) -- One of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators is pushing a proposal to help boost interest in green collar jobs. Senator Tammy Baldwin met with renewable energy experts and instructors Thursday at Mid-State Technical College, and discussed the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation, or GREEN Act.
Baldwin says the GREEN Act would help prepare students for careers in clean energy fields. “One, is kind of plant the seed a little earlier in a young person’s life about the beneficial potential for jobs in renewable energy, clean energy, and sustainability fields, and secondly, competitive grant program that allows high schools as well as colleges and universities to actually install clean energy projects.”
Baldwin says the need for green energy workers is growing, but sometimes government isn’t doing enough to help meet that demand. “A valid concern, and we talked a lot about this today, is the policy signals that are sent at the state level, and sometimes at the federal level about the future of renewable and clean energies. I happen to believe that it’s inevitable that these industries are going to grow.”
The Senator says clean-energy jobs pay about 13 percent better than the average job in the U.S., and the green energy careers are growing at nearly twice the rate of the national economy. “Nationally, the picture is pretty rosy. Clean energy jobs, what we call green collar jobs, are being created at, like, twice the rate of jobs in other sectors. They also pay a bit more, so those are really encouraging things. You know a lot of it is, they say all politics is local, so we have to send up the right signals at every level of government.”
California Democrat Jerry McNerney has introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Senator Baldwin visited technical colleges around Wisconsin Wednesday and Thursday.