Friday, April 09, 2010

Jobs Now

National, state and local leaders representing government, business, labor and environmental groups convened today in Kansas City Wednesday for the “Clean Energy Roadshow.” The Roadshow was created to find ways to spur collaborative public-private investment in the clean energy economy and create quality green jobs for American workers. Kansas City is the Roadshow’s tenth stop in a multi-city, multi-state national tour that is expected to run through 2011.

I was pleased to highlight Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone initiative, which concentrates resources like federal and state weatherization funding into a low-income, high-unemployment neighborhood to create jobs and improve energy efficiency, as an example of success.

We know our nation must change the way we produce and consume energy, we must make our homes more efficient and we must get Americans back to work. The conversation we continued this week leverages once-in-a-lifetime federal resources to spur private commitments in remaking our economy for a sustainable future. The American labor movement has done more than any policy or politician to build the middle class. We are climbing out of a recession spurred, in part, by turning our back on the worker and valuing a quick buck over honest labor. It is time again for our economy to be based on hard work and fair pay.

The Roadshow is currently focused in large part on strengthening America’s energy efficiency retrofit industry. Part of the Kansas City Roadshow involved members of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 264 (pictured above) demonstrating elements of the home energy efficiency retrofits that will be done in the Green Impact Zone, including conducting an infrared scan for air leaks and blowing insulation into drafty walls.

Retrofitting energy inefficient homes in America will not only create tens of thousands of new jobs, but it will also save families an average of $440 to $600 a year on their home energy bills, and in some cases much more. In addition, it will reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve quality of life for homeowners and families and reduce U.S carbon emissions equivalent to taking 615,000 cars off the road in order to help mitigate climate change.