Horsford: Use stimulus funds to retrain Nevadans for energy projects


CARSON CITY -- Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford today announced a plan to use federal stimulus funds to retrain citizens and create a work force for the coming renewable energy economy where Nevada can lead the nation in geothermal, solar and wind energy production.

“We have a moral responsibility to leave a cleaner planet,” said Horsford, D-Las Vegas. “We have plenty of sun and wind and geothermal resources. We can create a technically skilled work force that renewable energy companies are looking for.”

Horsoford told the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee that the federal stimulus plan includes about $100 million for job training, weatherization programs, state energy proposals and energy efficiency grants.

With this money, he said 3,200 Nevadans could be trained for $3,500 each to weatherize, or make low-income Nevadans' homes more energy efficient, and to learn the skills needed in the renewable energy industry.

Training jobs would be offered by community colleges, as well as both labor and management organizations, according to Horsford. Graduates would be certified by the training programs as being skilled for renewable energy work.

“We can establish ourselves the national leader in the green economy in this country,” he said.

While he could not be reached immediately today on Horsford’s “green jobs” plan, Gov. Jim Gibbons has been stating for months that he also wants Nevada to become the leading renewable energy state.

Horsford’s proposal was received enthusiastically by management and labor representatives, Republicans and Democrats, as well as power company lobbyists and citizens attending today's hearing.

But one woman testified she recently graduated from an electrician training program, only to find there were no jobs for electricians. She questioned whether “green-collar jobs” will be available if she entered one of the training programs.

 

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.