A bill calling for training of workers to fill the green jobs of tomorrow passed the Oregon House Wednesday by a 42-16 vote. House Bill 3300 requires the Oregon Workforce Investment Board to develop a green jobs workforce plan that includes a coordinated strategy to better match training opportunities for low-income Oregonians with high-wage, high-demand professions in the green economy. It also calls for the board to identify the specific skills the green economy demands and invest in creating new training programs and retooling existing jobs based on industry needs.
“We have done a tremendous job since 2007 in creating the infrastructure and incentives for a new and growing wave of green jobs,” said State Rep. David Edwards (D-Hillsboro), the bill’s sponsor. “Now this bill instructs those involved in developing workforce training programs to clearly identify these jobs and develop a plan to make sure the training programs are available for workers in this growing industry.”
Edwards pointed out that with unemployment at 12.4% in Oregon, now is the right time to be retraining workers to take advantage of a new generation of green jobs.
“From day one of this session, getting Oregon back to work has been our top priority,” said House Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County). “Our community colleges are working very hard to develop the programs needed to fill these new jobs, and this bill will provide a much more cohesive strategy between our workforce needs and our community colleges.”
HB 3300 requires the Board to work with industry, labor and education stakeholders to:
Identify emerging technologies and innovations likely to advance the green economy;
Develop a plan designed to leverage and align existing public programs to train and support green-collar workers; and in conjunction with the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department;
Formulate and recommend new or expanded financial incentives or other strategies designed to recruit, retain or expand green economy businesses.
“Oregon’s leadership on green jobs has already paid dividends. History shows that good economic policy and good environmental policy don’t have to be at odds,” said Representative Ben Cannon (D-Portland), a chief sponsor of the bill. “This plan will help make it possible to say today that Oregon will meet its goal of arresting the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.”
“As a member of the Oregon Workforce Investment Board, I have been working on red, white and blue jobs all over Oregon. If these jobs have a shade of green to them, then that’s all the better for Oregon,” said State Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles).
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