Posted for Ty Dawson, organizer for the Blue Green Alliance and former Sierra Student Coalition leader. Today over 60 students at the Ohio Power Vote training brought the energy and passion to this important green jobs event.
Columbus, Ohio Columbus, Ohio (September 13, 2008) — Wearing green hardhats, Governor Ted Strickland and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy joined labor, environmental and community leaders today to raise a wind turbine on the front lawn of the Statehouse in Columbus in event dubbed, “Uniting, Relighting and Employing Ohio.” The raising of the turbine, which was donated by Ohio’s own wind and solar company Dovetail, came after news this week that more than 80,000 Ohio jobs can be created with an investment in the green economy. The raising was symbolic, but exemplified the unified front that labor, environmental and community leaders have to foster green job creation, through investments in clean energy, job training and fair trade. Ohio public officials, labor and environmentalists, agree that with the right investments and policies, Ohio’s economy can be strong. With Ohioans facing a tough winter of sky high energy bills, and soaring unemployment, news this week that more than 80,000 good jobs can be created in Ohio by investing in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy strategies was welcomed.
Governor Strickland, joined by Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, Ohio AFL-CIO President Dave Caldwell and Greenpeace Executive Director, John Passacantando, among others, emphasized the need for Ohioans to put aside differences and unify around common sense solutions to the energy and global-warming crisis and most importantly, rising unemployment. There are solutions that Ohioans can all agree on: clean and renewable energy jobs, green job training and fair trade policies that honor worker rights and reflect the true environmental costs of expanding carbon emissions abroad.
The event began with a speech to the audience at Statehouse by Governor Strickland. He highlighted his plan to aggressively pursue green jobs and green job training for Ohioans, and called for local elected officials to start demanding a change in trade policies that undermine our efforts to create jobs in Ohio and cut carbon emissions; which are growing exponentially abroad as our production moves overseas.
“Creating good, middle-class jobs and protecting the environment go hand in hand,” said Carl Pope Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “While Americans are looking at high energy prices and a weakened economy, we have the chance, and the obligation, to realize the economic and environmental opportunities of investing in the green economy.”
Dave Caldwell, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, reiterated the fact that taking global-warming seriously can only benefit Ohio workers, “The time is now,” as he called the audience to action, “we have got to support our elected leaders, like Kilroy, like Strickland, like Senator Brown, who get that all of these issues impacting our workers and the environment are connected, international trade, the economy and gas prices, it’s all broken, but the solutions are clear: fair trade, clean energy and job training.”
Other speakers included George Harris, a day laborer in Cincinnati who called for more investment in job training. “I used to sort recycling at Rumpke in Cincinnati. It is hard work, and it is environmental work, but it is a low-wage job. I want an opportunity to get more education and a chance to benefit from the green economy. We need investment in workers like me for green job training, so that all of us can benefit from these jobs.”
Rachel Neuschatz, a student from Oberlin in the Class of 2011. She and other students have started the Green Employment Corps of Oberlin, a listening project to figure out what role the students should play in bringing green collar jobs to the economically depressed Lorain County. “We hope to be a sight of a green jobs training and we want to use our unique status as students, who are passionate about making a difference, and who have a lot at stake in this, to help bring opportunity to our community.”
Ohioans for Health, Environment and Justice, United Steel Workers, Ohio League of Conservation Voters, Ohio Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ohio Conference on Fair Trade, Ohio Farmers Union, Sierra Club, Environment Ohio, Working America, Blue Green Alliance, UFCW Local 1059, Ohio AFL-CIO, MORPC Sustainability Conference, National Audubon Society, Energy Justice Ohio and Greenpeace, Student Environmental Council all co-sponsored the event.
This event, a part of The Green Jobs for America campaign, is working to educate the public about the economic potential of global warming solutions. Led by USW, Sierra Club, Blue Green Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Green For All, Working America, New Jersey Work Environment Council and Center for American Progress, Green Jobs for America is calling for better jobs and better energy future for our children. For more information, go to www.greenjobsforamerica.org.
 The report, commissioned by the Center for American Progress, authored by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and released in conjunction with Green Jobs for America, shows that a $100 billion investment in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy strategies would create two million new jobs nationwide over two years — nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount within the oil industry — and reduce the national unemployment rate to 4.4 percent in two years.