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GROWING EXCITEMENT, EXPECTATIONS FOR GREEN JOBS CORPS

"GROWING EXCITEMENT, EXPECTATIONS FOR GREEN JOBS CORPSWhen Rita Bryer sees 300-foot-tall wind turbines sprouting up from the
prairie near her home in western Oklahoma, she can't help but wonder about
the view from the top, where blades the size of semi-trucks spin.""Out here, you can see the wind turbines from 10 miles away,"" she said.
""Think about how far you'll be able to see when you're at the top.""So, partly out of curiosity, partly because she wants to be part of
something new, the 51-year-old is leaving behind a career of odd jobs and
oil-field work.She's going back to school to become a wind turbine mechanic -- one who'll
have to scale the turbines to make repairs.Across the country, people like Bryer are looking to the renewable energy
sector in hopes its ""green-collar jobs"" will offer them stability in this
shaky economy. Some are signing up for community college or apprenticeship
programs that train students to be wind turbine mechanics, solar panel
installers, fuel-cell engineers or energy efficiency experts. Video Watch
how the green economy is growing in PennsylvaniaGovernment support has rallied excitement for the prospect of a green jobs
corps, as President Obama's stimulus package puts about $20 billion into
greening the economy, according to the White House.Video Obama says country
will double renewable energy in three years »In his recent speech to Congress, Obama said the U.S. will double its
supply of renewable energy in three years. To do so, he's calling on a new
class of workers to be trained in environmental fields. Green jobs training
programs will get $500 million from the stimulus.At a summit in Philadelphia on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden said people
who make $20 per hour before a green jobs training program can make $50 per
hour after. On average, the clean-energy jobs pay 10 to 20 percent more
than similar work outside the field, he said. Video Watch how to land green
jobs »Adding to the enthusiasm, Biden cited a recent case in Chicago where a
maker of energy-efficient windows intends to gradually rehire 250 workers
who were laid off when their window company closed late last year.There is a ""very direct"" correlation between the stimulus package and
Serious Materials' ability to reopen the plant, said Sandra Vaughan, chief
marketing officer for the California-based company.But not all signs for green industries are so positive.Wind and solar companies have cut staff and stalled new projects as the
credit crisis has tied up money, meaning banks are less able to invest in
renewable energy.In the short term, that will make things difficult for the newly trained
green work force, said Kathy Werle, dean of applied sciences and technology
at San Jose City College, in California, which offers associate degrees in
solar panel installation.""Right now, money is so tight. People can't borrow money to put solar on
their homes,"" she said.Werle said she expects Obama's stimulus plan to help jump-start the
industry. Within a year or so she expects the graduates to be able to find
plenty of green jobs.The uncertainty appears not to be tempering student demand for green
education, though. Earlier this semester, 260 people showed up for 44 seats
in solar panel installation classes at San Jose City College, Werle said.""Anything green is very popular,"" she said.Meanwhile, some schools that train the green-collar work force are billing
their programs as near-guaranteed ways to find stable jobs.Sidney Bolfing, chairman of the Texas Renewable Energy Education
Consortium, an association of community colleges, said nearly 100 percent
of his graduates find jobs in the fuel-cell industry -- many before
graduation.""Typically all of these students all get jobs,"" he said.Bolfing is so confident in the idea that he markets green-collar careers to
high schools and elementary schools in the area.He hopes that the standard list of childhood dream jobs -- astronaut,
firefighter, police off"