Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clean Energy Jobs: From the Lab to the Manufacturing Line to the Living Room

Today the President held an event focused on "Investing in Our Clean Energy Future" --we asked Greg Nelson of the Office of Public Liaison to give us a rundown of what the event was all about.

Behind every great company can usually be found a couple of key ingredients: an innovative inventor or scientist, a dogged and passionate entrepreneur, and a community of employees and supporters that make the vision a reality.

Earlier today, President Obama spoke in front of a crowd that represented all aspects of this spectrum, from an idea in a lab that creates jobs and a better standard of living for all of us. The focus was on building the clean energy economy, and how investments in research and development today will pay off in high-quality green jobs tomorrow.

The President’s budget helps lead the way (read the fact sheet), giving businesses the tools and stability needed to grow -- $150 billion over 10 years in clean energy and energy efficiency, and a 10-year commitment to make the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit permanent. Through this funding, projects have been able to start at institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and turn into growing green businesses like Serious Materials. To illustrate the point, MIT President Susan Hockfield and Serious Materials Vice Chairman Paul Holland joined the President on the stage to tell their stories.

The President speaks on green jobs
(President Barack Obama shares the podium with MIT's Susan Hockfield and Paul Holland of Serious Materials during the President's remarks on investments in clean energy and new technology Monday, March 23, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. White House Photo / Lawrence Jackson)


The pre-program was a lot of fun, an example of the dynamism and innovative partnerships that are happening right now in this time of necessity. Van Jones, newly minted as the Senior Advisor for Green Jobs, Innovation, and Enterprise at CEQ, lead a discussion about how to help companies and technologies make that leap across the chasm. How do we capture the imagination and turn it into meaningful work making products that matter?

Van Jones speaks
(Van Jones speaks, joined by Neal Verfuerth of Orion Energy Systems and Deepika Singh of Sinmat.
Photo credit Jason Djang, 3/23/09)


Joining Van were two great examples of the spectrum – Deepika Singh from Sinmat and Neal Verfueth from Orion Energy Systems. Both have been growing their dynamic businesses in this recession by focusing on technology and products that help us solve some of our most pressing needs – energy efficiency, smarter technology, and more integrated systems.

Omar Friella and wife Gia Winsryg-Ulmer look on
(Omar Friella of the Green Worker Cooperatives network and wife Gia Winsryg-Ulmer look on.
Photo Credit Jason Djang, 3/23/09)


The President wrapped up the conversation with a commitment and a call to action – "all of you, you are helping us to build a cleaner, brighter future, and a stronger, more prosperous economy. And my administration and our country will support you in that difficult work."

From the labs at MIT to the shop floors at Orion and Serious Materials – let’s get to work.

The audience
(The audience looks on intently during the pre-program. Photo credit Jason Djang, 3/23/09)

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