Are green energy jobs the philosopher's stone that can turn stagnant employment cyphers into golden opportunities? They are according to U.S. Representative Kathy Castor.
Castor visited the Tampa Area Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee school Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate their first solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations. There were roughly 20 people in attendance representing the school and the business community.
As Castor spoke to those gathered outside the school, she was flanked by two electric vehicles; a Finnish Fisker Coup and a modified Porsche 911.
Prior to Castor's address, she toured the school's facilities. In an impromptu move she entered the classroom of first-year students and spoke to them about the promising future of green electrical jobs. She told the students (a group that included only one female) that she envisions green energy vehicles as the driving force behind the creation of new job opportunities. She went on to add that in these woeful economic times businesses are exploring ways to reduce operating costs, and green energy will play an integral part in that search.
The 150 students enrolled at the Tampa Area Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee receive a five-year education and apprenticeship. It's a work-study program which has been serving the Tampa area for more than 100 years. David McCraw is the training director of the school. He said that the school's curriculum needed to accommodate the fact that; “(electric vehicle chargers) are popping up all over Tampa. It makes sense to have students know how to install and maintain them.” This hands-on mentality was put into practice at the school according to McCraw. The students installed both the solar panels on the roof as well as the ground level charging station.
Kathy Castor remarked that being back in Florida and away from the committees dealing with energy issues is a breath of fresh air. She said that the committees are full of Republicans aligned with the Tea Party who seem only able to discuss energy issues revolving around oil and gas. Castor closed her speech by reiterating that investing in green energy creates jobs and promotes the health of the U.S. economy by reducing the dependency on foreign energy sources.