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Made in the USA (4/21/09)

April 21, 2009
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The Apollo Green Manufacturing Plan's goal is to put millions of Americans back to work and restore America’s manufacturing leadership.

Remember when “Made in the USA” was more than just a slogan, but a patriotic statement seen on bumper stickers, t-shirts, and the like? Somewhere in the last couple of decades, American-made took a backseat and price became the most important factor in purchasing goods. Stores like Wal-Mart, which had touted itself as selling mostly U.S.-made items, started filling its shelves with products made in China, and customers – wooed in by the low prices – either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
 
Nowadays, with layoffs and factory closings making daily news, more and more of us are turning back to American-made products. By buying those products made nationally, we can help to keep or even bring back jobs during these tough economic times.
 
The Apollo Alliance is a group trying to do just that. They’ve launched a broad-based campaign to restore millions of American jobs with the release of a comprehensive roadmap for rebuilding U.S. manufacturing capacity to meet the clean energy needs of the future. The Apollo Green Manufacturing Action Plan (GreenMAP) lays out aggressive steps to scale up production of American-made clean energy systems and components while making U.S. factories more energy efficient.
 

“We can’t let the next generation of energy jobs be in oil fields on the other side of the world. Our energy security and economic revitalization depend on creating and keeping good jobs in the U.S.,” said Apollo Alliance Chairman Phil Angelides. “The Apollo Green Manufacturing Plan will put millions of Americans back to work and restore America’s manufacturing leadership.”

Developed in collaboration with industry, labor, environmental groups, and academic experts the Apollo Green Manufacturing Plan calls for:

 

  1. Direct federal funding for clean energy manufacturers to retool facilities and retrain workers to develop, produce and commercialize clean energy technologies.
  2. Tying federal support to manufacturers’ ability to meet labor and “Made in America” content standards.
  3. Federal support to streamline the clean energy components supply chain to make American producers more competitive.
  4. Increased federal Green Jobs Act funding to enable the American workforce to meet the demands of a clean energy economy.
  5. Creation of a Presidential Task Force on Clean Energy Manufacturing to coordinate the federal government’s efforts and increase our international competitiveness.

 

"One of the most promising new ventures for manufacturing and rebuilding the American middle class is clean energy," said Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden’s Chief Economist and the executive director of the White House Middle Class Task Force. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides unprecedented investment in the clean energy sector and green-collar job training. The White House Middle Class Task Force understands that manufacturing can expand opportunities for working men and women to earn wages and benefits that support families and strengthen communities."

The manufacturing sector employs nearly 13 million Americans. Long considered the ticket to the middle class for workers without college degrees, these jobs are disappearing, with many being sent overseas. Since 1999, 4.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been shed, including more than 750,000 since late last year.

“For middle class families who are being squeezed by this economic downturn, clean energy manufacturing jobs could be the answer to their family’s security and their community’s re-growth,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “Across Ohio, towns like Toledo, Dayton, Youngstown and Columbus are already leading the way for new clean energy technologies. We have the opportunity now to develop clean energy production and build the workforce to ensure its success.”

“By making real investments in the domestic production of advanced batteries, and other alternative energy technologies, we can create good-paying, middle-class American jobs,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “By investing in green technology, innovation and production here at home, we will ensure that we don’t move from a dependence on foreign oil to a dependence on foreign technology.”

 

What do you think? Can the green trends save – or even bring in new – American jobs? Or does something else need to be done? Do you "buy American"? Leave a comment below.

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