By Samantha Hernandez
A report released today by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) at the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Summit in Milwaukee called upon employers to not only think green, but to create jobs that are open to the current work force.
The two-day summit will be attended by 900 people, according to event coordinators. The 5th annual summit focuses this year on “Green Jobs–Growing Wisconsin’s Economy.” The summit will focus on renewable energy, green buildings, and bio-technology and what this could mean for Wisconsin’s economy.
In his keynote address, Joel Rogers, director of COWS, stressed the importance of developing locally owned green businesses in order to create more jobs.
Rogers said a lot of green businesses “are doing deals, and deals are fine,” but a lot of them aren’t going anywhere.
In order to be successful Rogers said businesses need solid business plans and need to form partnerships with other green businesses and educational resources.
The report stressed the need to use data to get smarter about green jobs, create green partnerships, and create quality and accessible jobs for people who need them.
In addition to training, another way to make greener jobs successful is making them so that people can apply the skills they already have to the job. The report gives the example of electricians retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency as a job that doesn’t require an “advanced degree,” but one in which someone can use the skills they already have to do it or take part in a training class to get them.
In an interview, Rogers pointed out that the report is “less about green jobs” and more about “green job opportunities.”
“I’m pretty optimistic. I don’t think that I’m a lunatic, but I’m optimistic. I think nationally there will be several million new jobs,” explained Rogers. He went on to say that retrofitting houses to make them more energy efficient would be a just one of the many green job opportunities.
The report provided an outlook on the jobs available, training required and existing capacity in the areas of energy efficiency, wind power and biofuels.
Attendees also heard from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who told the audience he was upset about the loss of over 190 jobs when the United States Bowling Congress leaves Milwaukee and Judy Ziewacz, executive director of Office of Energy Independence, who said that “energy efficiency is a state priority.”
See the report: http://www.cows.org/pdf/rp-greenerpathways.pdf
See the executive summary: http://www.cows.org/pdf/ex-greenerpathways.pdf