Traditionally red Texas experiencing green jobs boom
CBS News continues its series "Eye on Earth: Our Planet in Peril," a week of special coverage on our changing planet, leading up to Earth Day on Thursday, April 22. In a new CBS News poll, respondents were split on whether investments in renewable energy would help or hurt their communities.
As President Biden pushes to accelerate a 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 farm is set to be the largest in the country, spanning over three counties.
"Out of the 600 folks we have on-site, they're happy to be here, they're happy to get a paycheck and feed their families," said Jake Metzger, a construction manager.
Barry Crawford has been leasing part of his land in Cunningham, Texas, to the project for 25 years.
"Some neighbors wanted in right away. Other neighbors, not so much," Crawford said. "Roads, bridges, everything across the line is benefiting tremendously, you know, from this project."
Oil-rich Texas leads the nation in wind power. In 2020, the state produced more energy from wind turbines than coal for the first time. The Lone Star state is quickly becoming the blueprint 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 this is part of the future," she said.
Lone Star College and Workrise are running a training site for renewable jobs.
"It's about getting them their next job, staying with them throughout the course of their career," said Workrise CEO Xuan Yong.
When Yong looks at a field of solar panels, he said he sees jobs.
"We see jobs. We see our ability to build to a million jobs for America," he said.
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