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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Phil Keating

Miami, FL

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Green Jobs Not Growing As Expected

December 13, 2010 - 5:13 PM | by: Phil Keating

An instructor at Flordia’s Ocala green jobs training program is teaching a class the basics photovoltaic science and solar panel installation.

“Am I going to get any voltage or am I going to get anything?” asks the teacher.

The class says: “No.”

The teacher asks “Why?”

And the class says: “Because I’m not facing the sun.”

Sunshine energy is green energy.  So tap into that, Ocala is training students so that they can tap out of being jobless.

The Obama Administration channeled $90 billion of the $870 billion dollar stimulus package towards the new green economy.

The hope was that a national move from fossil energy to green energy would not only be good, long term, for the environment, but that the transition could also be a jobs’ driver, which would help resuscitate the overall economy.

But two years into Obama’s administration, the White House has reported it’s helped create 224,500 green jobs, far short of the 5 million it had openly predicted.

At the Ocala green job training school, the reality for students is that only about 25 percent of the green graduates have found green employment.

“It’s not a big concern. I’m just going to go through the training and accept what jobs come to me,” says Samual McTiernan, a student.

Thomas Skinner, CEO of Workforce Connection  says  that a lot of that is just because the poor economy.

“Where people would anticipate it would turn 18 months ago, has not materialized to where their industry is expanding.”

Analysts say the reason for green jobs not growing as fast as hoped include several reasons:

–Government subsidies to give industries incentive to go green tend to be short term.  Industries want long term commitments to permanently invest in green technologies.

–There are not government regulations forcing industry to meet certain green thresholds.

–Perhaps most relevant in this still-tight economy where what costs less often prevails: fossil fuels remain cheaper than going green.

“The reason for the slow growth in green jobs in the U.S. economy over the past two years is that the industry was very small to begin with, so it was very hard to leverage that industry up to make it create jobs,” says Samuel Sherraden of the New America Policy Foundation.

As for progressive expectations that jobs in recycling, solar and wind energy, sustainable landscape design, battery redesign and green demolition would lower the national unemployment rate noticeably, those were ambitious, to say the least.

But Skinner says the green training is still worth it.

“They’re going to be more competitive to get a job when the economy turns than they ever would have been”

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