Make us your home page
Instagram

Green could mean 'go' for creating jobs in St. Petersburg

With the Tampa Bay Green Living Expo under way this weekend, it seems fair to ask this question: Where are all those green jobs we've been hearing about?

In its sixth year, the Green Expo, which is going on today at the Coliseum, has been growing in popularity as residents become more aware of how energy efficiency can save money and help the environment.

But, again, how does that translate into jobs?

Well, there is one training program that began in March with a goal of training 400 people in the next three years.

WorkNet Pinellas received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and expand training for workers who make homes and offices in Florida more energy efficient. The weatherization program, now under way at Pinellas Technical Education Centers, will train installers, auditors and field monitors.

"We're looking to affect the green economy in Pinellas County and at the state level," said James Robinson, weatherization coordinator at WorkNet Pinellas.

Through a partnership with PTEC and the Urban League, the program will offer training that should lead to the creation of local jobs. The state plan includes a goal to weatherize 19,000 homes by 2012. That will create quite a few jobs.

The first round of training — for installers — takes about two weeks and includes a certificate of completion, Robinson said. Training for auditors and field monitors is more intensive, and until PTEC gets accredited by the Building Performance Institute of the Department of Energy, the trainees for field monitor will not be certified. But there are opportunities out there.

There's also potential for other green opportunities, but city officials are mum on the specifics.

The buzz about town is that the city is in talks with a German solar panel manufacturer.

"There are so many companies talking about coming here, but as far as specifics, I can't confirm or deny anything," said David Goodwin, the city's director of planning and economic development. "Some companies have confidentiality clauses that prevent me from speaking.

"We would be excited about putting a company like that in the Dome Industrial District," Goodwin said. "If it's high-end jobs that require a Ph.D., that may not be a good fit for us. We're looking for companies that will offer jobs that the community can have access to."

In addition, there's a lot going on in the city related to the green economy.

Several projects are in the works that could lead to green jobs, said Steve Plice, president of Tampa Bay Living Green Inc., a nonprofit that sponsors the Tampa Bay Green Living Expo. Among them:

• Suncoast Electric Cars, an electric car dealership, just opened at 2401 Fourth St. N with four employees.

• Luma Stream, an LED manufacturer, opened at 2245 Fourth Ave. S in the Dome Industrial District about a year ago and is growing 100 percent annually. The company employs 11 people but is about to embark on a large project and will need more staff, said its president, Steve Crimi.

• Johnson Controls, at 1101 Fourth St. S, is adding staff locally, helping companies and governments do energy efficiency projects.

• St. Petersburg is accepting bids for 25 solar hot water projects on city buildings.

• The city is helping 27 nonprofits finance energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings.

• The Urban League has tripled its weatherization contracting and is now doing multifamily projects.

• Several renewable energy manufacturers are considering opening operations in St. Petersburg. One has signed a nondisclosure agreement with the city.

• Tampa Bay Water, the regional water supply authority for three counties, is about to finish a plan to make its facilities more efficient. Its current power bill is $19 million. Retrofits to many well fields will generate jobs.

Sandra J. Gadsden is assistant metro editor, community news. She can be reached at sgadsden@sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8874.

Green could mean 'go' for creating jobs in St. Petersburg 04/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]