Horsford introduces ‘green jobs’ initiative
Associated Press Writer
Stating that Nevada could lead the nation in linking job creation to energy efficiency, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford detailed his “green jobs” initiative to a legislative panel Friday.
SB152 would use federal stimulus funds to train an estimated 3,200 workers at a cost of about $3,500 each, and cover costs of weatherizing about 6,500 homes and upgrading government buildings and schools to make them more efficient, Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said.
The result would be reduced greenhouse emissions, lower energy costs and a work force ready for the renewable energy industry, Horsford told the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee.
“At the end of the day, we will have a skilled work force that is ready to go for a new wave of renewable energy projects, making our state an attractive place to build renewable energy businesses, once and for all, establishing Nevada as a leader ” as the leader ” in this new green economy in our country,” Horsford said.
The current economic downturn shows the need for the plan, Horsford said. Nevada’s 9.1 percent December unemployment rate is the highest rate since 1983. More than 128,000 people, many of them from the construction industry, are out of work in the state.
The new federal stimulus package, totaling nearly $1.5 billion for Nevada, has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to Nevada for job training, weatherization, state energy programs and energy block grants. Horsford said staffers are working to determine requirements for qualifying for those funds.
“I’m all too aware that the first question in everyone’s mind is how we will pay for all these big, bold ideas,” Horsford said, adding “The green jobs initiative is meant to strategically leverage those federal funds that are already earmarked for specific purposes.”
The funds would then be used by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and the state Housing Division, which would then contract with qualified nonprofit groups to create or enhance job training programs statewide.
In addition, Horsford said the initiative would immediately give newly trained workers jobs through a list of prioritized projects from the state Public Works Board, county school districts and state university-college regents.
Ultimately, the bill cuts costs in a number of other areas by reducing dependence on foreign oil, and energy costs for Nevada families that can use their savings for food and health care Horsford said.
Horsford also proposed an amendment that requires job-training programs to be certified to green job and energy efficiency standards.
Responding to questions and concerns voiced by several committee members, Horsford said he looked forward to working with them on the bill, one of a series of upcoming renewable energy policies.