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“Green” Jobs Brighten OR Employment Picture

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June 11, 2009

Newburg, OR – Job growth in "clean" industry is outpacing traditional job growth by at least 5-to-1 in Oregon, according to a new report for The Pew Charitable Trusts. It also shows investors are pumping more money into clean energy businesses - 48 percent more in 2008 than in 2007.

They are rare positive trends in this economy, and the Pew team predicts clean energy businesses will continue to see explosive growth. That's good news for Greg Price, sales and marketing manager for Abundant Renewable Energy, a wind turbine manufacturer in Newburg. Price says his company is small now, but it's growing, and will be looking for employees with a wide range of skills.

"We need aerospace engineers, to help design blades and model blades; electrical engineers, for the controls that we've developed; people who are in manufacturing - machinists, shop technicians. We need sales and marketing staff; tech support…"

Price calls Oregon "a great place to do business," although he's concerned about the possibility that state lawmakers will reduce the Business Energy Tax Credit program as part of state budget cuts.

The study says Oregon is home to more than 1600 clean energy-related businesses that employ about 19,000 workers. It's already a standout compared to other states, according to Phyllis Cuttino, director of U.S. Global Warming Campaign for the Pew Environment Group.

"Oregon has more jobs in its clean energy sector per capita, than any other state in the nation. And in fact, those jobs grew by more than 50 percent between 1998 and 2007."

The study tracked actual jobs and investment dollars in such fields as clean energy production, energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conservation and recycling. Cuttino says investors put almost $6 billion into the clean energy economy last year – and she expects that figure to grow as the federal government adopts "greener" policies.

The report, "The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses & Investments Across America" is online at www.pewcenteronthestates.org or www.pewtrusts.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR