Legislation now before the House Small Business Committee would promote an educated and skilled workforce to meet the demands of an expanding renewable fuels industry, ethanol industry leaders say. The New Era Act, as introduced by Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, would establish grant programs to community colleges in the U.S. to implement renewable energy education and training programs.
Hawkeye Renewables Founder and CEO Bruce Rastetter told the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology that while jobs in the biofuels industry draw plenty of interest, most of the interested individuals lack an adequate education in the field.
"When our Fairbank, Iowa plant was set to open, we received over 800 applications for 45 jobs. However, it was easy to sift through prospective hires based on the degree of education, training or experience that applicants had," says Rastetter. "There are many people with an interest in gaining employment in the biofuels industry; some just may lack the necessary skill-set to obtain employment. The return on investment grants like this can provide for communities, states and our nation is immeasurable."
"As our industry continues to grow, the demand for skilled and educated workers provides a plethora of job opportunities for individuals interested in ethanol production in the U.S.," says Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. "For the benefit of our communities', we must respond to this demand by providing opportunities for education on renewable fuels in our community colleges."
A full text of Rastetter's testimony is available at www.ethanolrfa.org.