Workers, community members poised to transition America to a clean energy economy
Cleveland, OH – Workers, business owners, labor leaders and community members came together Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio, to launch the Made in America Jobs Tour highlighting the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy that will create jobs while reducing harmful carbon pollution and breaking our dependence on foreign oil.
“We need to create good jobs here in the United States, and investing in clean energy provides the means to get us there,” said Tom Conway, International Vice President of the United Steelworkers, a founding partner of the Blue Green Alliance and a speaker at the event. “Clean energy jobs are jobs that we know we can do, that Americans can do, and they are jobs that will move America forward. We have to rebuild and renew manufacturing in this nation, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will do just that.”
“It’s clear that Ohio’s working families understand the benefits that lie in clean energy,” said Bryan McGannon, Repower Ohio State Director. “Our working families are not only prepared to help transition America to a clean energy economy, but excited to seize the opportunities clean energy and climate solutions provide, and the jobs made in America they create.”
The Made in America Jobs Tour, organized by the Alliance for Climate Protection and the BlueGreen Alliance, kicked off Thursday in Cleveland and consists of more than 50 events in 22 states, including St. Louis, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“We see jobs right here in Cleveland that have survived this downturn because they are building the clean energy economy. With comprehensive clean energy and climate policies, we can repeat this story thousands of times by unleashing investments in alternative energy sources that will create jobs, and produce cleaner air and stronger communities,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is also a partner in the BlueGreen Alliance. “The groundswell of support for building this clean energy economy is growing in Ohio and across the United States.”
A recent report by the BlueGreen Alliance showed that Ohio stands to gain more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs in wind, solar, geothermal and biomass by instituting a renewable electricity standard. In addition, a report by the Center for American Progress showed that Ohio could gain more than 67,000 jobs from investments in clean energy.
“Not only am I here today for the Apollo Alliance, I am here for my mother,” said Shanelle Smith, Ohio State Coordinator for the Apollo Alliance. “For 35 years, she worked on the line at the Toledo Powertrain assembly line. She has been laid off for the past six months. My mother is 50 years old, she has no college education, but she sent her two daughters to college. I am here today to make sure that clean energy is built in America, in Ohio, and that there are clean jobs – good jobs with good wages – so others can send their children to college just like my mother sent me.”
Lee Geisse, a member of the United Steelworkers and a greaser at a plant in Louisville, Ohio, closed the event by urging America’s workers to attend other Made in America Jobs Tour events, saying, “This is a great kick off to what I know is going to be an incredible tour. Be a part of it, grab your hard hat, be a part of the solution!”