Legislation would train next generation of skilled workers to create sustainable solutions

MADISON — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s new clean energy legislation poses a significant opportunity to revitalize our manufacturing base by training the bright students of today to create the clean energy solutions of tomorrow.

“This legislation would play a major role in making Wisconsin and the rest of the Midwest world leaders in developing and manufacturing the clean energy technologies that will power the global economy through the rest of this century,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin, the state’s oldest and largest environmental advocacy group. “This is an important step for the future of our economy as well as our natural resources and the air we breathe.”

The Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act allocates competitive grant funding for clean energy career and technical training programs so that students are better trained for post-secondary education and better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of the future. Sen. Baldwin visited technical colleges across Wisconsin to announce the plan on Wednesday.

“The U.S. has ceded far too many clean energy manufacturing jobs to Europe and China,” said Reopelle. “The GREEN Act will help to bring some of those good-paying manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and back to Wisconsin.”

The clean energy technology sector is one of the only sectors in the nation to show strong growth through the post-2008 economic slowdown.  In 2012, $268 billion was invested globally in clean energy, which was a 500 percent increase over 2004.