Federal data show much of the U.S. is seeing job growth for the clean energy sector, and Minnesota is no exception, as new regional numbers confirm the state is adding more workers to the field.
The organization Clean Energy Economy Minnesota is out with a new report, noting around the state, jobs supporting resources such as solar energy or electric vehicles grew overall by nearly 3.5% last year. Nearly 60,000 Minnesotans work in the clean energy sector.
Amelia Cerling Hennes, managing director of the group, said the encouraging trend is not just confined to certain parts of the state.
“The clean energy sector is benefiting economies all across the state,” Cerling Hennes reported. “About one in three clean energy jobs are located in Greater Minnesota.”
She cited some regional hot spots, such as St. Cloud, which is the fastest-growing area outside the Twin Cities. Statewide, there was a 10% growth in jobs supporting the transition to electric vehicles. Industry sources acknowledge challenges, with 82% of clean-energy employers citing difficulties in filling open positions, prompting renewed calls for more investments in job-training programs.
Becky Wacker, director of energy services sales for the energy solutions firm Trane, said like many other firms, they are adding to their Minnesota staff. She pointed out there are many types of roles within clean energy, and Trane is trying to help those interested make an easier transition.
“We’ve got some early talent development programs to help train those young professionals as they’re coming into our business,” Wacker explained. “Whether it’s recent college graduates or technicians or those looking to be out in the field.”
Both Wacker and Hennes emphasized because of the demand for services and projects, clean energy can serve as a career, as opposed to a temporary vocation. More broadly, industry leaders are calling on Congress to protect funding — from policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act — for additional clean-energy development and the jobs created. Concerns are mounting under demands from House Republicans to cut spending.
Disclosure: Clean Energy Economy Minnesota and the Clean Grid Alliance Coalition contribute to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and the Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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