Effingham, Ill. (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) secured a commitment from U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to work with Duckworth on bipartisan legislation she is drafting with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) that would connect servicemembers and Veterans with opportunities in the clean energy sector.
At a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing this morning, Duckworth and Perry spoke about her bipartisan legislation, which would help ease the transition back to civilian life for servicemembers and Veterans by providing them with training they need to get good-paying jobs – while also helping the fast-growing solar, wind and cyber energy industries find highly-skilled workers who have experience in similar fields from their time in the military.
“Our nation has experienced an exponential growth in clean, renewable energy.”
“Wind and solar energy are quickly becoming dominant forms of energy and I believe there is tremendous opportunity for our Veterans to find good-paying jobs in these sectors,” said Duckworth.
“I appreciate Secretary Perry’s commitment to supporting all programs that help servicemembers transition to civilian life, and I look forward to working with the Secretary to pass our bipartisan legislation that will help Veterans obtain good-paying jobs in these fast-growing industries, while also helping clean energy companies find highly-skilled and dedicated workers as they continue to provide more of our nation’s energy supply.”
Duckworth’s legislation, which she hopes to introduce in the coming weeks, would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop training programs to provide Veterans and Servicemembers with opportunities in the fast-growing wind, solar, and cyber-energy fields.
The programs would offer Veterans and members of the Armed Forces six month internships to gain hands-on training and skills.
It would also establish a labeling program that recognizes companies that are hiring graduates of these programs in order to encourage them to consider hiring Veterans and servicemembers.
The U.S. military has been a leader in developing clean energy technology.
The Army, Navy, and Air Force have set a goal, which the Navy has already achieved, of developing one gigawatt of renewable energy to power their installations by 2025 – enough to power about 700,000 U.S. homes.
As a result, many servicemembers and Veterans already have the technical skills that make them great fits for the wind and solar industries, both of which employ Veterans at higher rates than the rest of our economy.
According to the Department of Energy, Veterans make up 11.5% and 11.1% of the wind and solar workforce respectively.
Duckworth also thanked Secretary Perry for following through on the promise he made to her during his confirmation process to visit both Argonne and Fermilab in Illinois and for providing critical funding for both facilities, which Duckworth has strongly advocated for.