As we confront a continuing unemployment crisis, clean energy manufacturing offers an important opportunity to create good jobs for Californians. The California economy has shown promise in the realm of green manufacturing, and green jobs have grown faster than California’s economy as a whole.
The latest data for California shows that 27 percent of green jobs in the state are in manufacturing, and green manufacturing jobs increased by one percent in 2009 while California’s economy as a whole registered a seven percent decrease in employment. In California, people of color have increasingly benefitted from manufacturing jobs, which is important because people of color are overrepresented within the ranks of the unemployed.
Today, California remains the leading manufacturing state in the United States, and the nation remains in a neck-and-neck race with China for the claim of being the world’s leading manufacturer.
California and the United States need an improved public policy framework to do a better job of attracting these investments. For that reason the BlueGreen Apollo Alliance California developed the California Green Manufacturing Action Plan.
The plan’s recommendations — which were developed by a task force representing manufacturer, investor, labor and environmental perspectives — is meant to give state policymakers a roadmap for attracting clean energy manufacturing enterprises, and the good jobs they create, to California. The recommendations address a number of issues on the “supply-side of the green manufacturing equation” including:
- Improving access to capital for clean energy manufacturers;
- Streamlining existing state resources and permitting processes;
- Encouraging research and development efforts;
- Ensuring California has a well-trained workforce;
- Enabling small-and medium-sized clean energy manufacturers; and
- Improving federal clean energy manufacturing policy.
As demand for clean energy products continues to surge – in California and globally – now is the time to capitalize on California’s manufacturing leadership and maximize family-supporting job creation in our clean energy manufacturing sector. By taking the steps laid out in the California BlueGreen Apollo Green Manufacturing Action Plan, we can accelerate job growth and help the clean energy sector lead the way back to full employment, a cleaner environment, and more secure energy future.