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“Among the most important issues today are tackling climate change and transitioning rapidly to a new energy economy that is based on conservation, efficiency, and clean energy.  Our Center joined KySEA to be a part of a network of individuals and groups using their combined resources and voice to effect legislative change in Kentucky. We believe all citizens and the Commonwealth will benefit from a clean energy future that will strengthen the  economy, protect the environment, improve health, and create jobs.”  - Nancy Givens

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Building Clean Energy Careers in Kentucky

by Kristin Tracz — last modified Nov 22, 2010 09:13 AM

A new report by MACED, Building Clean Energy Careers in Kentucky, notes that Kentucky has real potential for job creation in the clean energy economy, but needs changes in energy policy to make those jobs grow and improvements in workforce development to allow more Kentuckians to get the skills needed for those jobs.

A new report by MACED, Building Clean Energy Careers in Kentucky, notes that Kentucky has real potential for job creation in the clean energy economy, but needs changes in energy policy to make those jobs grow and improvements in workforce development to allow more Kentuckians to get the skills needed for those jobs.

 “The emerging clean energy economy has real potential for Kentucky in terms of economic development and job creation opportunities,” said Justin Maxson, President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). “But we need stronger state energy policy to grow the demand for workers along with a workforce development infrastructure that meets the sector’s skill needs in ways that low-income Kentuckians can access.”

The report surveys recent studies about the job opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky and focuses on the role of workforce development as part of an overall approach to a clean energy economy. The report highlights the importance of a coordinated workforce development strategy built on solid information that maps emerging career pathways in the sector, and underscores the importance of policies that build bridges to new training opportunities for low-income, low-skilled Kentuckians.

Noting the necessary role of stronger state energy policy in spurring job growth and sustaining job opportunities, the report emphasizes that job training is effective only if aligned with a deliberate job creation effort. The report makes recommendations for energy policy change that would support a strong market for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky, including establishing a portfolio standard for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency savings while expanding financing to spur investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy among energy developers, businesses, institutions and homeowners throughout the Commonwealth.

MACED authored Building Clean Energy Careers in Kentucky as part of the Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative supported by the Annie E. Casey, Ford, Joyce, and C.S. Mott Foundations to examine the conditions of America’s working families. 

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Clay County, Kentucky resident Randy Wilson ran for the board of his electric cooperative on a platform of affordable energy, better energy choices, and good local jobs in 2009. Randy was the first person to oppose a sitting Jackson Energy board member since the co-op was founded in 1938. Before running for office, Randy was an active member of the Kentuckians For the Commonwealth’s Canary Leadership Network carrying a message throughout the region about the need to transition away from coal and towards clean energy.

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