January 8th, 2010

Inside the Washington D.C. Job Summit


Here’s the second post from our industry insiders Jesse Gossett. A couple weeks back Jesse was invited to the Washington D.C. Job Forum and Economic Growth where there was a lot of talk about green jobs and what exactly that means.

An email entitled, “An Invitation to the White House” showed up in my inbox the day before thanksgiving. It asked us to send our social security number along with other personal information so we could get through the three layers of security if we wished to attend a ‘Clean Tech and Economy’ conference at the white house exactly 6 days later.

The White House logo on the email was juuuust pixellated enough for me to think, “SPAM.”

6 days later, we’re walking into the White House…

This wasn’t the big Jobs Summit that was all over the news, it was a subset to bring in young leaders in the energy and environmental world to hear their stories and start some conversations. Funny, too, because the Apollo Alliance wrote in their newsletter that “Warren Buffett and those twenty somethings from Emergent will be in attendance.”  I ask the guy in charge of ours, “So are we invited tomorrow? People think so, and with how last minute this all was, our invites may have gotten lost in the mail…” Nope. No luck.

I think I have a point. Sorry, this is rambling.  So you know how when young kids from Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and all the other great student activist groups get together and lobby?  It usually involves chanting, yelling, and asking hard questions. This is all for good reason. In recent history, the kids and the environment weren’t high on the list of our elected officials. Everyone in the audience was a little taken aback this time, however.

“Why haven’t you made strong commitments to Xppm carbon in the atmosphere?” asks one student. Says Mr. Chu…. “Oh yes, and in fact, I think that’s NOT ENOUGH!  We’re working hard to get us there… These things take time, you know.”

Silence. It was quite entertaining, actually, and a breath of fresh air to finally  hear this sort of back and forth between the cabinet members (Jackson, Chu, Solis and Salazar all came) and the young public. For once, we’re being listened to. For once, we’re being respected.

Now, if only it didn’t take so long to completely revamp the energy and environmental sector… I mean, come on, it’s been like a whole YEAR already! ….hah.

In other news, I learned an important lesson while in DC. The current administration is full of rock-stars. They’re fighting for us, and they’re passionate about what they do. One thing I had to come to grips with, though, was not agreeing with everything they say and do. Its actually a very interesting position to be in. Before, I flat-out disagreed with the general policy of people like former Energy Secretary Sam Bodman (who’s really good at hugs. long story). Now, I agree with the general policy direction of someone like Steven Chu, but it’s the little things that can still bother me if I’m not careful. We’ve got a brilliant, forward thinking scientist in charge of the DOE for the first time in how many years. That he isn’t putting every dollar where I want him to put it is something I’ll just have to get over (clean coal, bio-fuels, etc). It doesn’t get much better than this. Unless I’m in charge. Jesse in 20whenever. Hah.

Green jobs. Yes, it was a jobs summit. Solis, the head of the Dept. of Labor, was there. She’s awesome as well. Very impressive speaker, seems to be doing some good stuff. My attention span, however, was nearing it’s end. What I got out of it was… Follow the tech. Training programs are popping up all over the place, and as long as you follow the jobs in your education and training, you’ll end up with… a job. Go get it.

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Jesse Gossett

About Jesse Gossett

Jesse Gossett was born in the wilderness of Washington State and is currently the Director of Community Affairs at Emergent Energy Group. His efforts focus on developing new ways of helping clients, staying abreast of renewable energy policy and regulations, and overall project management. Emergent Energy Groups plans, designs, and facilitates the advancement of community focused energy and sustainability solutions. Our contribution helps public and private entities assess, optimize, and create on-site clean energy systems.Emergent Energy Group has recently won Business Week's 'Top 25 Under 25 Competition'.