We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.
I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.
Monday, December 21, 2009
John Mertens Proposes Energy Job Training Program
John Mertens has proposed a major training program for future energy related jobs. Mertens cites a report from the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) that concludes that the United States is “facing a critical shortage of trained professionals to maintain the existing electric power system and design, build, and operate the future electric power system.” Mertens’ program would help provide tens of thousands of additional power grid construction and maintenance workers, as well as replacement of tens of thousands of skilled workers and engineers that are expected to retire in the next ten years.
The proposal uses $500 million of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide incentives and financial aid to 50,000 high school graduates over the next four years to enter technical school, community college, and four-year college programs to specifically become skilled energy sector workers and engineers, using existing funding mechanisms. The plan also includes using $100 million of funds from the ARRA to provide 100 competitive million dollar grants to engineering and science based charter high schools in urban areas. “Investing in infrastructure and renewable energy education will provide much bigger bang-for-the-buck than short-sighted, more expensive programs like Cash for Clunkers,” said Mertens. “It’s important to get the necessary human resources into the pipeline now.”
Mertens presents a National Energy Policy on his website that includes a long term goal of moving most passenger vehicles from liquid fuels to electricity by 2050, which would require a larger U.S. electricity generation capacity. He also proposes an upgrade of the U.S. electric power grid to accommodate renewable sources of electricity.