"Experts say there is the potential for hundreds of thousands of green collar jobs to open up in communities across our nation over the next decade," Governor Rell said during a visit to Howell Cheney Technical High School in Manchester. "We want Connecticut's students to be at the head of the line for those jobs - with the training, confidence and expertise they need to succeed.
"Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change will require an increase in energy efficiency and the expanded use of renewable energy," the governor said.
Seniors in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design at Howell Cheney Technical High School (Photo courtesy Howell Cheney Technical High School)
"This kind of change will present many new opportunities," she said. "It means new opportunities in designing and manufacturing the products and systems we will need for commercial and residential construction and renovation. And it means new opportunities in installing and maintaining solar panels, insulation, new windows and the other clean-tech solutions we'll be relying upon."
In her budget address to the General Assembly on February 6, Governor Rell proposed an investment of $125,000 for the development of a Green Collar training initiative in the technical high school system. There are 18 schools with more than 10,000 full time and 5,500 part time students in the state's technical high schools.
Governor Rell was joined at the school by Robert Varney, administrator of the U.S. EPA's Region One.
Dr. Mark McQuillan, commissioner of the state Department of Education; Gina McCarthy, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection; and Dr. Abigail Hughes, superintendent of the technical high school system, also accompanied the governor.
After touring Cheney Tech and speaking with faculty and students, Governor Rell said, "This new program will help make certain that our technical schools provide hands on instruction that will lead our students to where the jobs of the future are going to be."
If the proposed funding is approved by the Legislature, Connecticut technical schools will be able to expand upon programs now offered in construction-related fields to incorporate training in green technologies, Governor Rell said. Curriculum and training now is offered in electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as plumbing disciplines at the technical schools.
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