Traditionally red Texas sees boom in green jobs
CBS News is continuing its “Eye on Earth: Our Planet in Peril” series, a week of special coverage on our changing planet, in preparation for Earth Day on Thursday, April 22. CBS News Poll, respondents were divided on whether investing in renewable energy would help or hurt their communities.
As President Biden strives to accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources, oil and gas workers are being trained for jobs in the green economy.
Dallas, Texas – In the heart of Texas, green jobs are booming. After its completion in early 2022, the Samson solar park is expected to be the largest in the country, spanning three counties.
“Of the 600 people we have on site, they are happy to be here, they are happy to receive a paycheck and to feed their families,” said Jake Metzger, Construction Manager.
Barry Crawford has been leasing part of his land in Cunningham, Texas to the project for 25 years.
“Some neighbors wanted to come in right away. Other neighbors, not so much,” Crawford said. “The roads, the bridges, everything that crosses the line benefits a lot, you know, from this project.”
Texas, rich in oil, dominates the country in wind power. In 2020, the state produced more energy from wind turbines than coal for the first time. The Lone Star state is emerging as the model for a new type of blue collar worker.
Paula Harris recently retired from oil and gas and is now training for a new challenge. “I think it’s part of the future,” she said.
Lone Star College and Workrise operate a training site for renewable jobs.
“It’s about finding them their next job, staying with them throughout their careers,” said Xuan Yong, CEO of Workrise.
When Yong looks at a field of solar panels, he says he sees jobs.
“We see jobs. We see our ability to create a million jobs for America,” he said.