I just came back from the premier of a very powerful movie, Clean Energy for a Strong USA. which tells the stories of clean energy workers around the United States. The film makes clear what the environmental community, organized labor and many forward-thinking members of Congress have known for quite some time: clean energy and climate legislation can put Americans back to work.
The movie features laid-off workers given another chance by clean energy investments; veterans who know that their role in the clean energy economy will make America safer; and business leaders who know they can revitalize our economy and make the United States the global leader in clean energy if Congress does the right thing; the smart thing.
I have seen first-hand how hard it is to find a job in today's market. My oldest daughter and her friends are entering the workforce right now and it is demoralizing to try and find a job in this market. But as tough as it has been for them, it hardly compares to the difficulties faced by workers who are trained and ready to work but have been recently laid-off and are looking for a job while they have a family to support and a monthly mortgage payment.
All of this being said, there is cause for hope. Since we began working with the BlueGreen Alliance, I have met workers who have found new jobs after being laid-off, and even some workers who managed to keep their jobs while the economy deteriorated and unemployment soared.
What do they have in common?
They are all in the clean energy sector. And now we have comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation moving through Congress that can provide jobs and opportunities to workers all over the country.
This bill can create two million new jobs. Those aren't my numbers, they come from the University of California, Berkeley.
These are good jobs, for hard-working Americans who have the skills we need right now. Jobs for electricians in Missouri, steelworkers in Indiana, carpenters in Pennsylvania, tool and die makers in Ohio, machinists in Michigan, wind-turbine builders in South Carolina, computer software designers in Virginia…people who work with their hands and their minds.
These are good-paying jobs, jobs that can't be outsourced or shipped overseas, the kind of jobs that built this country -- the kind of jobs we need to get us back up on our feet.
And one thing more.
This bill will prepare our families for success in the global marketplace for the next generation of clean energy technology.
We know where the growth is coming -- just look around. We are building and using solar panels, hybrid cars, wind turbines, smart grids, fast trains and much more. These are the technologies of tomorrow -- and we can get busy today -- investing, building, preparing ourselves to be the world leader in these fast-growing markets.
That's a bet on the future of our workers. It's a bet on the strength of America. And we'll see the payoff for decades to come.