June 2009

Jersey City Training Center Hosts Labor Secretary, N.J. Governor

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A high profile meeting between Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine occurred at a natural nexus green jobs training and the future of U.S. energy production: an IBEW training center.

Solis and Corzine spent the day between at the Jersey City Local 164 Training Academy taking in classes, speaking with labor leaders and discussing the Obama administration’s plans for jump-starting the economy through development of the domestic renewable energy industry.

“Secretary Solis was very interested in what was going on,” said Local 164 Training Director John DeBouter. “She couldn’t have been more outgoing and friendly and supportive of what we do. She was very impressed with our training center.”

At the April 29 visit, Corzine and Solis, joined by N.J. Labor Commissioner David Socolow, discussed the state’s plan to create 20,000 green jobs by 2020. President Obama has committed to spending $500 million to create green jobs across the country.

“We know what we have to do to get the economy stimulated,” Solis said. “My hope and my dream is that we see more business pop up here in New Jersey” as the green industry grows.

In what was not just another day at the training center, apprentices and journey-level members were in classes when the high-level delegation toured the facility. The group stopped by the conduit fabrication lab an got a quick lesson on three- and four-bend saddles. They dropped in at the telecommunications lab, the conveyer lab and motor control lab, where a class of 15 apprentices were wiring motor starters and motors.

At the solar photovoltaic lab, instructor D.J. Solleder demonstrated how modules produce DC voltage, and went on to explain the conversion of AC power through the inverter. Solleder also explained how a solar path instrument is used to determine the best possible positioning of panels.

The group also explored the site where the local is adding a 48-kilowatt solar array at the training center. Local 164 has already installed 432 poly-crystalline solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the union offices.

Solis and Corzine also participated in a roundtable discussion with several unemployed workers, two of whom had a background in electrical theory. Each submitted applications for membership in Local 164.

Jersey City, N.J., Local 164 Training Director John DeBouter, left, and Local 164 Business Manager Richard “Buzz” Dressel, join Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Gov. Jon Corzine for a press conference following their tour of the training center.