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Look to Clean Energy for Future Careers in Minnesota’s Construction Industry

On Earth Day, President Biden announced that the United States is committing itself to cutting carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2030.

If you’re thinking about a career in Minnesota’s construction industry, this is good news, because to reach that goal, a number of changes will need to occur right here in Minnesota, such as building and maintaining more wind and solar farms, natural gas and hydrogen power plants, and adding more carbon capture systems.

As Minnesota transitions to a clean energy future, it will need more construction workers to build and maintain the infrastructure that delivers electricity and heat to Minnesota’s homes, businesses and public buildings.

The Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council is the advocate voice for unionized construction workers in Minnesota. Seventy thousand members strong, the Minnesota Building Trades has provided leadership and advocacy for construction workers in Minnesota for 70 years. PC: Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council

As Minnesota develops public policy to transition to a reliable, carbon-free energy future, Minnesota construction trade unions representing 70,000 union construction professionals, are advocating for secure, reliable, accessible and cost-affordable energy to ensure the long-term success for Minnesota workers and communities. This includes advocating that the people who work on clean energy projects have been properly trained through registered apprenticeship programs offered by Minnesota’s construction trades.

“Construction trades members are building and maintaining a state-of-the-art, leading-edge energy infrastructure that’s critical to our state’s future,” said Harry Melander, President of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades. “We need young people who want to be part of that future.”

“Throughout Minnesota, high schools are seeing increased interest from students who want to take construction or hands-on courses to prepare them to work in Minnesota’s construction industry,” said Sarah Lechowich, Senior Director of the Construction Careers Foundation. “With the need for more construction workers in the future who will build Minnesota’s energy infrastructure, this is a window of opportunity for young people to earn a salary while gaining marketable skills that will benefit all Minnesotans.”

Minnesota’s Energy Infrastructure Priorities
Building an energy infrastructure that benefits all Minnesotans will require thoughtful planning, strategic investments, and critical policy decisions in the years to come. The Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council has identified eight critical energy policy priorities upon which to guide that process. These priorities include:

▪ Climate change must be addressed.
▪ Investments must be made in the operations, maintenance and repair of Minnesota’s current energy infrastructure.
▪ Investments must be made in the development and deployment of technologies such as solar, wind, nuclear, hydro-electric, carbon capture and utilization, battery storage and low carbon and electrified transportation.
▪ Investments must be made to increase energy efficiency in industrial, commercial and residential buildings, retrofit and upgrades to schools and public buildings, and to make our built environment safe and resilient.
▪ All work in the legacy, renewable, and energy efficiency sectors must be performed by the safest, most highly trained, skilled workers in Minnesota.
▪ Minnesota’s prevailing wages, labor and licensing standards are critical to successfully building the infrastructure for our clean energy future.
▪ A clean energy beneficial transition plan must address legacy energy workers and communities and ensure that all workers and communities are safe and respected.
▪ Energy must be reliable, accessible, and affordable.

“Minnesota’s energy infrastructure work is complex, and it will continue to evolve over time,” said Melander. “Our state needs the expertise of Minnesota construction trades professionals to build the infrastructure our state will need to meet President Biden’s climate change goals.”

To learn more about Minnesota’s energy infrastructure priorities, visit www.mntrades.org/energy.