The White House wants to put more returning servicemen and women to work manufacturing and installing solar panels, an effort President Barack Obama will add to his growing list of climate actions meant to combat global warming.
He visited an Air Force base outside Salt Lake City on Friday to highlight a new program that trains veterans to size and install solar panels on their military compounds, in the hopes of imparting skills applicable to a rapidly growing sector of the economy.
It’s part of a larger effort to train workers to manufacture green energy technologies as a way to create jobs.
“That’s how we’re going our keep our economy growing, and how we’re going to create new jobs,” Obama said.
The administration received disappointing jobs news earlier Friday, when the monthly Labor Department report showed businesses slowed their hiring in March. The White House cited bad weather, among other factors, in explaining the slowdown.
Obama said Friday his administration needed to be “relentless” in its pursuit of job creating policies, including the solar initiative he announced in Utah.
“As a byproduct, we’re going to make this country safer, We’re going to make the planet cleaner,” Obama said.
The program at the Hill Air Force base is mirrored by similar initiatives at nine other military bases across the country.
Obama also stated a new administration goal of training 75,000 new solar workers in the next five years, including the veterans enrolled in the military program.
As part of its efforts combating climate change, the White House has worked to promote solar energy as a cleaner source than burning fossil fuels. Obama installed solar panels on the White House roof, and last month toured a similar set-up at the Department of Energy.
The administration hopes the solar push will cause Americans to use less fuel that produces harmful byproducts, thereby working toward the recently set goal of slashing total emissions by 28% in the coming decade.