Expanding Nuclear Energy Generates Jobs in Florida


Check out this article in the Orlando Sentinel today by guest columnists Christine Todd Whitman and Karen Avilla.

Christine Todd Whitman is a former EPA Administrator and Governor of New Jersey, and currently the Co-Chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy). Karen Avilla is president of Hispanic Elected Local Officials, and also a CASEnergy Coalition member.

They make a very strong argument framing nuclear energy as key to Florida’s efforts in both the green jobs sector and for the state’s overall economic growth.

Florida is one of many states exploring opportunities to expand nuclear energy capacity at existing facilities, which would mean the creation of many new jobs and added economic impact. By showing our support for Florida’s five nuclear energy reactors, and paving the way for the expansion of associated infrastructure in the state and beyond, we can help create and sustain green jobs and reduce unemployment.

Florida needs jobs. While overall U.S. unemployment rates stand at 8.2 percent, unemployment in Florida is slightly higher, at 8.6 percent. National unemployment among Hispanics is higher still, at 11 percent.

At present, the U.S. nuclear-energy industry supports 100,000 American jobs. Each new nuclear facility creates an average of 1,400 to 1,800 high-paying jobs, often reaching as many as 3,500 jobs during peak construction periods. Once operational, these facilities create 400 to 700 direct and permanent jobs.

And as the Presidential election has a special focus on Florida’s Latino population, the authors call out what a crucial issue this is this group:

Latinos in Florida will be able to take advantage of contract opportunities set aside for minority development programs. And Florida’s communities will provide the goods and services needed to support a growing nuclear-energy industry. Recent trends in entrepreneurship indicate business starts in the Hispanic community will continue at a much higher rate than in other communities. Hispanic communities are therefore readily able to address the growing needs of new nuclear facilities.

Educational institutions across the state are also targeting minority populations with training programs designed to produce nuclear work-force-ready candidates. These programs and partnerships are cropping up at minority-serving institutions statewide.

Take, for example, Miami Dade College’s Nuclear-Career Academic Bridge, which leverages a combination of financial aid, mentorships and focused, skills-oriented training to ready students to enter the nuclear industry upon completion of the program.

These kinds of efforts — which expose Hispanic students in greater numbers to critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics education — not only promote greater diversity in the energy work force, but also put Hispanic students in line to enter well-paying careers in an industry with a bright future.

It’s a great article, worth sharing especially to your friends in Florida. Read the whole article here.

Tags: CASEnergy, Christine Todd Whitman, Florida, jobs

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