When I think of the Sunshine State, I naturally think of sun (and lots of it).  Florida is a prime location for solar energy products but also wind and other clean energy installations.  Recently, MoveOn.org hosted a Clean Energy Jobs Day in Boca Raton to discuss jobs in the renewable energy industry.  

In looking at growth in the clean jobs industry over the past decade, the nation has seen a 9.1% increase in renewable energy employment.  During this same time period, 1998-2007, Florida only realized a 7.9% growth in clean jobs.  By contrast, another sunny state, Arizona, posted a 21.3% increase in clean jobs.

Now Florida’s 7.9% growth can’t be blamed on slow job growth in the state, employment boomed during the same time period with overall job growth between 1998 and 2007 coming in at 22.4%.  Florida businesses and renewable energy advocacy organizations need to work to raise awareness about the importance of clean jobs in the state.  

Although these figures came from a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts, another report looks at how an investment in clean energy can have a positive effect to the state.  Green Prosperity examines the importance of investing in clean energy economy as a way to provide a path out of poverty for millions of low-income Americans.  

The report, a collaboration between the Political Economy Research Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Green for All, also provides case studies on specific several Florida Congressional Districts.

Moving $308 million in investments from fossil fuels to jobs in clean energy will create 2,722 new jobs in Florida’s 5th Congressional District (PDF).  This is a net increase; in other words, it takes into account jobs lost in the fossil fuels industry from a loss of funding. 

These new jobs include approximately 1,700 entry-level positions for individuals with a high school degree or less.  These aren’t just minimum-wage paying jobs, however.  The study shows that nearly 2/3 of these entry-level positions have a moderate income earning potential, which PERI defines as a $15.00 per hour average wage.  

This is just one example of how investing in good, green jobs can help provide pathways out of poverty and create good job growth opportunities for low-income individuals.

The MoveOn.org clean energy jobs workshop needs to be repeated throughout the state of Florida.  Since Florida is one of the states most severely affected by the housing boom, it is of extreme importance to provide residents of the state viable, long lasting, and green job opportunities.

Photo by markus941