Green jobs training programs received a significant boost in funding thanks to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA legislation provided funds for a variety of clean energy job training programs and also funded the Green Jobs Act of 2007. Although ARRA funding is still making its way to green jobs training programs across the nation, President Obama has set aside millions of dollars from the fiscal year 2011 budget to continue the trend.
The new budget allocates $85 million for green job training programs. This is in line with Obama’s commitment to expanding our nation’s clean energy economy, which was one of the focal points of his 2010 State of the Union address. In addition to the $85 million for green jobs training, the FY2011 budget also includes hundreds of millions of dollars to continue and expand clean energy research.
As was the case with the green jobs training programs, the ARRA provided a financial boost to clean energy research programs in the United States. The 2011 budget includes $170 million for bioenergy research and $300 million set aside for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy programs.
“R&D funding will support renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as advanced batteries, solid-state lighting, solar, biomass, geothermal, and wind power. The 2011 Budget supports research and development of advanced coal-fueled power systems and carbon capture and storage technologies as well as science-based nuclear energy R&D programs to advance nuclear technologies and improve their market competitiveness.” Source: White House
Of course, nuclear energy and coal-fueled anything are not without controversy, especially among clean energy purists. The budget, itself, is not without controversy either. However, the nation’s unemployment crisis continues and something drastic needs to be done to jump start the employment recovery. Clean energy and green jobs need to be an important part of this recovery.