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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Creating a Blueprint to Prepare New Mexico’s Workforce for the Clean Energy Economy is Focus of New House Bill 

 

Santa Fe, N.M.– Representatives Angelica Rubio and Javier Martinez, and a coalition of community organizations, introduced the Clean Energy Workforce Development Study (HB 547) Wednesday afternoon. 

HB 547 calls for an appropriation of $200,000 from the general fund for the Department of Workforce Solutions to accomplish the following study objectives: 

  • Prepare a report with recommendations by July 15, 2020, on the opportunities for and barriers to accessing clean energy jobs in low-income and rural communities, both at the present time and in the future;
  • Study and provide recommendations on the need for increased education, career and technical education, job training and workforce development to help industries, workers and communities prepare  for jobs in the clean energy economy.
  • Identify in its report disadvantaged communities to prioritize for economic development opportunities in a sustainable and clean energy economy.

A final report will be provided to the Governor and presented to the interim Economic and Rural Development  committee that addresses these critical economic development issues by October 1, 2020.

Rep. Angelica Rubio (D – District 35) said,

“HB 547 addresses what we have long needed –a clear blueprint of what a clean energy economy looks like for our rural and marginalized communities. As New Mexico prepares for the clean energy jobs of the future, we must better understand how wind and solar energy projects translate directly into the jobs of tomorrow, for the communities of today. HB 547 will create a roadmap to explore the tools we need –education, skill training, and infrastructure, where necessary– to prioritize access for all New Mexicans to thriving renewable energy jobs that will greatly benefit families across the state”.

Rep. Javier Martinez (D – District 11), said,

“For decades, families of color across New Mexico have been left behind when it comes to accessing the thousands of new jobs that will emerge in the renewable energy sector. But the Workforce Development Study puts New Mexican families first to make sure they are able to transition to the jobs of today and tomorrow, allowing their families and communities to thrive.”

Luis Chavez, construction worker, long-time resident of Brazito NM and member of NM CAFÉ, said,

“As a young person who lives in a rural community, the reality today is that the quality jobs available to me are not stable. I see jobs in clean energy as an opportunity for myself but also for my community. HB 547 to me is simply another solution to the pollution. Not only will it create jobs, but it will also help in the fight to keep our future clean. I want to feel pride in my work, in knowing that my family’s future is stable and also that my small community is leading in efforts to make our world better. I am born and raised in rural NM and love my community which is why I will fight to make sure we don’t get left behind and instead are seen as leaders in a renewable energy economy.“

Jose Salgado, business owner in Chaparral, NM, said,

“As a business owner in Chaparral, I believe renewable energy can be especially good for New Mexico workers. I see the growing need to produce, install, and maintain renewable energy systems as an opportunity for a rural community like mine. Unfortunately, many of my relatives and neighbors have moved to other states to find training and better jobs because we as a state have not been able to understand how important this opportunity is for local workers. New Mexicans shouldn’t have to go somewhere else when there is work to do here. A strong supply of trained workers from New Mexico is vital for businesses like mine to continue hiring local and investing in our communities. The legislature should prioritize training and jobs for New Mexican workers who too often get left out of new opportunities.”

John Wyatt, Las Cruces resident, formerly incarcerated, sentence commuted 2015, said,

“It would be very rewarding for a released inmate to participate in a well-planned, well-implemented, and adequately-funded renewable energy workforce development program. This type of employment could truly offer a career that has a demand and a future. A returning citizen could provide for themselves and their family with a living wage that the clean energy sector can provide. The possibility for success could prevent so many like me from returning to the dead-end behaviors of crime and costly incarceration at the taxpayer’s expense. The inclusion of a much-needed renewable energy workforce plan for our communities is nothing less than a true ‘win-win’ for everyone.”

Eduviges Hernandez, a long-time resident of Hobbs and a member of Somos Lea County, Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s membership team in Lea County, said,

“New Mexico’s rural communities are often an afterthought when it comes to new jobs in emerging industries. House Bill 547 ensures that workers in rural areas and our children are not left behind when it comes to clean energy jobs. We look forward to a more diversified set of job opportunities in Hobbs.”

Mary Velasco, a long-time resident of Roswell and is a member of Somos Chaves County, Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s membership team in Chaves County, said,

“Rural economies must be built on our strengths like wind, solar and hardworking rural workers. I raised my family here in Roswell, we love this community but our only options for work are limited to agriculture and oil and gas. House Bill 547 allows us to be one step closer to ensuring immigrants, women, and low-wage workers in rural communities have access to these jobs through job training and apprenticeships.”

Cleofas “Polo” Mendez, a long-time resident of Clovis and is a member of Somos Clovis, Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s membership team in Curry County, said,

“Everyone who works hard deserves a chance to prosper. As a father, I want my children to have more sources of good-paying jobs right here in our community. Through HB 547, New Mexico can invest more in rural workers by ensuring we have the necessary training so that they are ready for renewable energy jobs.”

Demis Foster, CVNM Executive Director, said,

“As New Mexico contends with an evolving energy future, it is critical that our approach takes into account the communities that have been powering our homes and lives for decades. We are proud to have partnered with these communities on this bill and support this approach to address the economic, environmental and justice impacts.”

Oriana Sandoval, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy, said,

“The Clean Energy Workforce Development Study is a right step towards building a stronger New Mexico where our rural communities and communities of color are not left behind as we shift away from our dependence on fossil-based industries. HB 547 makes sure our workforce will be fully prepared for the clean, safe, and good paying jobs that put NM at the forefront in the clean energy economy nationwide, while doing our part at tackling the climate change reality we face”.

HB 547 has been assigned to House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and House Appropriations & Finance Committee. Full text of HB 547 can be found here.

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