BOSTON – This afternoon State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D – Pittsfield) appeared before his colleagues during a public hearing held by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies to advocate for the swift approval of a bill he sponsored earlier this session, S. 2744, An Act to Create Green Collar Jobs Training.
The Committee convened the hearing to accept testimony on a pair of clean energy jobs bills: Downing’s S. 2744 and a related proposal filed by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to promote the clean energy technology sector.
Downing’s bill creates the Green Jobs Training Fund, a new grant program for Massachusetts to develop and implement worker skills training and education in the energy efficiency and renewable energies industries. This new program will focus on training displaced workers in the burgeoning green technology field, where trained workers are needed to handle energy efficient technology and environmental changes across many disciplines including green construction, green landscaping, solar installation, manufacturing of green products, and energy retrofitting. Under this proposal, grants will be given to organizations looking to form partnerships in an effort to improve economic opportunities for participants.
“Green Collar Jobs are essentially blue-collar jobs, updated to address the environmental challenges of the Commonwealth. With the increasing demand for clean energy technology in business and at home, the companies trying to serve this demand are struggling to fill orders – they need a trained workforce for proper examination and installation,” said Downing. “I believe Green Collar Jobs offer a unique opportunity for displaced workers and those individuals living below the poverty line, with limited education or a criminal record to take part in the workforce and make a living wage.”
During his testimony, Downing called upon the Committee to combine his proposal with the Speaker’s legislation to create a program for Massachusetts that spurs business growth and lift individuals out of poverty.
During today’s hearing individuals from across the Commonwealth spoke in favor of promoting Green Collar Jobs and the clean energy sector in Massachusetts, including Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles.
The Committee will now review all written and oral testimony and weigh the measures with careful consideration.