Building Clean Energy Careers in Kentucky
Policy and training supports needed to create lasting clean energy jobs in the Commonwealth
November 22, 2010
BEREA, KY. — A new report 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.
For 34 years, the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) has worked to improve the quality of life in eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia by creating economic opportunity, strengthening democracy and supporting the sustainable use of natural resources. MACED seeks to grow wealth for low-income people in challenged communities, raise their expectations of the possible and engage them in solving tough community problems.