Saturday, July 4, 2009

Regional Job Boom

Tracking the energy economy storyline is important. Today's news presages tomorrow's job opportunities. There's a boom going on in your backyard, but most Steel Valley residents are unaware:

Companies that make equipment to generate solar and wind power are boosting local production as worldwide demand grows. Westinghouse Electric Co. has hired 2,600 people in the region over the past four years and is moving to a new headquarters in Cranberry this month as it builds nuclear plants worldwide. ...

... Solar Power Industries Inc. of Rostraver anticipates domestic sales for its energy-producing panels will jump because of renewable energy use incentives that are part of the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package. ...

... About 500 Marcellus wells have been drilled so far in Pennsylvania. Drillers from Texas, Louisiana and other states have been working here temporarily, but the companies are hiring and training local workers and could create about 8,000 jobs this year. ...

... On an average night, 40 of the 256 rooms at the Holiday Inn Pittsburgh Airport in Moon are occupied by gas company workers or related contractors, said Craig Poole, the general manager. He runs a "Marcellus special" discount to build repeat business.

Those last two passages highlight a problem. Cleveburgh doesn't produce enough talent to keep up with the demand for labor. I recall flying back to Denver from Akron-Canton airport. I sat next to a young man (early 20s) returning home to see his family. He was living in Colorado but working in Western Pennsylvania. The energy industry is well established in the Front Range. But there is a geographic mismatch between qualified graduates and job opportunities.

I have no doubt that the I-25 corridor will be the center of green industry. The relationship between the Tech Belt and urban Colorado should deepen. Get the training you need out west and then return home, ready to snatch up gainful employment in the energy sector. I've been thinking a lot about the best target for diaspora networking. Regarding the above news, Greater Denver makes the most sense.

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