California Officials Create Web Site For Green Jobs

California energy officials have created a Website devoted to green jobs.

The site describes 48 training programs that are offered by workforce investment boards, community colleges, labor and trade organizations and private industry. There are links to workshops and to industry and employment reports. People also can can register to receive e-mail alerts on items related to green energy.

Worldwide, about 2.3 million people are employed directly or indirectly in renewable energy, according to the independent research Worldwatch Institute. In California, the figure is about 433,000 workers, or 3.4% of the labor force.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger believes green-energy jobs will grow, and the new Website is part of what he says is the largest state-sponsored green jobs training program in the nation.

“The (Website) is a showcase for the training program in which government and private industry are coming together to make our state a leader in the new, sustainable economy,” he said.

It remains to be seen how fast the green economy grows in this time of deficit budgets, penny-pinching and fighting over California’s landmark greenhouse gases law, but colleges and high schools are moving forward. At West Hills Community College in Coalinga, students learned to install solar panels, with 70 of them finding work on a 40-acre solar farm in Mendota, on the west side of Fresno County.

High schools also are getting into the act. Buchanan High School in Clovis is debuting an energy academy this year. It exposes students to renewable energy and features wind turbines, solar panels, floor heating and water storage from rain runoff to irrigate a rooftop garden.

Edison High School in Fresno, New Energy Academy in Stockton and Independence High School in Bakersfield are developing renewable-energy programs in cooperation with Pacific Gas & Electric.

“Green energy is a growing field that is critical to turn the tide on climate change. I am excited that California students in these programs will be learning about technologies that can help the entire planet,” said State Superintendent of Education Jack O’Connell.

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