Friday, May 8, 2009

Rep. Tom Latham: "Community Colleges Leading America to Energy Independence"

Community Colleges Leading America to Energy Independence

A guest blog by Iowa Congressman Tom Latham
Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

In recent years, the spark that community colleges have traditionally provided for their local economies through job training and outreach has also helped ignite profound advances in renewable energy and green technologies.

I’ve watched with pride as community colleges throughout my home state of Iowa have established innovative programs that train students to run and repair the latest cutting edge renewable energy equipment. For example, Iowa Lakes Community College boasts a degree program that trains students to become wind energy technicians. Graduates of the program enter a growing industry with skills that will put them at the front of the line for high-tech jobs maintaining windmills and other renewable energy technology.

To support these efforts, I’ve introduced legislation that would grant tax incentives to renewable energy companies that donate equipment to community colleges and other institutions that train workers for jobs in renewable energy. This bill—H.R. 1249—titled the “Equipping a 21st Century Green Workforce Act,” will help community colleges develop renewable energy programs that provide students with hands-on experience with new equipment and technology.

Community colleges across the country are paving the way toward energy independence, job growth and a safer and greener America. As a co-chair of the Congressional Community College Caucus, I’ve gotten a close look at the benefits community colleges provide for their local economies, and I’m proud to do my part to make sure they have the tools they need to continue to improve the lives of Americans. This country is ready for energy independence, and community colleges can help lead the way.

Click here for H.R. 1249.

ACCT supports H.R. 1249 and other efforts to help community colleges provide training for the greening of our workforce and the economy.

We encourage our membership to reach out to their members of Congress in support of this piece of legislation. Congressional Members can be reached through ACCT's Policy Center.

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