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Bill seeks to bring training for green jobs to Valley

February 16, 2009|By MEGAN BAKKER, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District plans to support a new energy bill in the state Assembly that aims to establish a renewable energy work-force program.

Kevin Kelley, an IID spokesman, said that with the renewable resources in the Valley, it makes sense to support legislation aimed at developing a work force that can take advantage of those job opportunities.

“It seems like the initiative to develop the work force is well-timed, and the IID wants to support that effort,” Kelley said.

Assembly Bill 3, introduced by Imperial Valley’s Assemblyman Manuel Perez, would have a program in place by 2011 that would ensure that new “green-collar” jobs end up in the Valley.

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“It became clear to us on our recent trip to Sacramento that this green economy that we keep hearing about is regarded by lawmakers as the key to California’s economic recovery,” Kelley said.

And the Valley, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, needs to have a trained work force qualified for the jobs that the renewable energy businesses will bring in. But according to the text of the bill, educational institutions “are seeking to establish collaborations with local labor and renewable energy organizations but lack infrastructure, technical assistance and resources.”

To that end, the bill will award job-training grants and provide educational programs to develop that work force.

>> Staff Writer Megan Bakker can be reached at 337-3452 or at mbakker@ivpressonline.com

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