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Expert: Ohio Manufacturing Sector is Key to Building Green Energy Economy

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 By Mary KuhlmanContact
May 18, 2009

Cleveland, OH - As Ohio moves toward a new energy economy, some experts are working to ensure "green" jobs are also "good" jobs. Union professionals from across Ohio will join energy experts today in Cleveland to discuss ways to ensure organized labor has a seat at the table in the new green economy. Some say, tapping into Ohio’s strong manufacturing base will represent a great opportunity to create good green jobs and boost the economy.

Wendy Patton, senior associate with Policy Matters Ohio, is among the speakers and says Ohio should focus on the deep supply chains already in place to help create renewable energy products.

"The companies who manufacture parts for solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal systems hold the promise for good jobs and a revitalization of our industrial base."

Past research found that Ohio could be fourth among the states in job growth from green markets, assuming policies are enacted to promote that growth. A federal bill co-sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is intended to do just that by offering incentives that would promote new development, commercialization, and manufacturing, while helping existing employers become stronger and more competitive.

The creation of good family-supporting jobs is important as Ohio shifts toward a new energy economy, adds Patton.

"These would be jobs that would allow people to move from a low-skilled position to a high-skilled position, providing for plenty of training along the way to make sure you move up that career ladder."

Today’s conference will look at ways unions can incorporate green training to new and incumbent workers, help displaced workers get retrained for new jobs in emerging fields, and tap new workforce dollars.

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