New green job guidebook unveiled

Job creation and job loss are tools as sides push for and against environmental measures.
By Asher PriceAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Updated: 8:28 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

Published: 8:22 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

As politicians wrestle with how to create jobs in a hobbled economy, an environmental group has come up with a guide to help people find renewable energy and energy efficiency work.

The Texas Green Jobs Guidebook , published by Environmental Defense Fund , profiles more than 200 types of green jobs , giving information on job training and placement programs and city-specific overviews of work force Web sites and community college program listings.

Environmental advocates are also hoping the guidebook, which was announced Friday, will lay the groundwork for the state to further encourage renewable energy projects and establish subsidies so people can make their homes more energy efficient.

“Incentives the Legislature can put in place can only enhance the quality and number of jobs we have in the state,” said Kate Robertson , who authored the defense fund report. She pointed to a proposal in the most recent legislative session to set solar power goals for the state as a measure that would have created jobs for machinists and solar panel installers. The proposal failed.

The guidebook identifies a variety of jobs related to energy efficiency that people with a high school diploma or a equivalency certificate can pursue. The jobs include blowing insulation and installing solar panels and pay $20 to $30 an hour.

The guidebook carries the emblem of the Texas Workforce Commission, which reviewed it.

The defense fund will be distributing the guidebook via e-mail to all Texas high school guidance counselors and giving printed copies to counselors who request them. Others can download it for free at www.edf.org/txgreenjobs.

Environmental and industrial groups often push for and against environmental legislation by pointing to job implications. Industry groups have argued that further regulations will cost jobs, and leading Republicans have echoed that position.

In 2009, Gov. Rick Perry and state Comptroller Susan Combs held news conferences warning that potential federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions, for example, would cost the state thousands of jobs.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, who sits on the House Technology, Economic Development and Workforce Committee, said he sees “economic opportunities if we move away from certain types of energy and open up new markets.”

“There’s no reason people who have worked at coal plants can’t be retrained quickly to do other sorts of jobs,” he said.

asherprice@statesman.com; 445-3643