The following is a guest post by Dr. Stephanie Burns, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Dow Corning Corporation:
This week, I have the privilege of being part of a day-long National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas that will bring together high-level industry leaders, scientists, policy experts, and public officials—all of whom agree that the success of America’s energy future depends directly on building a strong pool of people who have the skills and expertise to manufacture and implement the energy technologies of tomorrow.
Renewable energy has the potential to create thousands of new, quality American jobs. I know firsthand that America’s manufacturing future and the creation of new jobs are inexorably linked to the energy transformation that is occurring throughout our nation right now.
President Obama has indicated that his administration will invest $150 billion over 10 years to accelerate the development of a clean energy-based U.S. economy that will create five million new green collar jobs. And in the recently passed stimulus bill, $500 million is dedicated to training workers to fill potentially more than 315,000 green-related jobs in construction, engineering, science, and skilled trades.
Progress is being made. A recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts said that the number of green jobs in the United States grew by 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, approximately two and a half times faster than job growth in the economy as a whole.
However, there is more that can be done. It’s not only going to take government action to provide the resources and green-collar training of the future, it’s going to take an effort by private companies, universities, technical colleges, workforce training programs, non-profits – literally all of us – to make sure that the jobs of tomorrow are created and filled. If our economy and workforce are to fully realize the employment potential of new energy technologies, we must make green jobs top priority in helping to bolster our economic recovery.
The current state of our nation’s economy shines a spotlight on just how vulnerable we can become when jobs are lost. My company is committed to doing its part to foster a positive climate of collaboration, creativity and commitment to inject American workers with a renewed sense of pride and importance as America strives to realize its energy goals of the future.
I believe that with the right mix of incentives, support, private investment and entrepreneurial spirit, together we will not only revitalize our nation’s economy and put people back to work, but we will also help propel America toward a clean, independent and secure energy future.
Dr. Stephanie Burns is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Dow Corning Corporation, headquartered in Midland, Michigan.