GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Building on Florida’s strengths in solar energy and advanced biofuels can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to the Florida Jobs Project, a new report created in partnership with the Florida Energy Systems Consortium and led by the American Jobs Project. The report is funded by The JPB Foundation, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.
“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Kate Ringness, program manager for the American Jobs Project.
“For Florida, this approach could employ an average of almost 98,500 people annually in the solar and advanced biofuel industries over the next 15 years,” Ringness said.
Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the Florida Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies and policies designed to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Floridians today and into the future and informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.
The report recommends innovative strategies to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.
The Florida Jobs Project finds that:
- In recent years, Florida spent up to $1.66 billion annually to import fuel to the state. Florida can keep this money in state and grow the economy by developing advanced energy industries.
- Florida’s solar industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth due to the state’s world-class research institutions and universities, supportive solar policies, and its third-place ranking in the U.S. for rooftop solar potential.
- Florida’s solar industry has the opportunity to employ an average of up to 44,500 Floridians annually over the next 15 years.
- Florida’s advanced biofuels industry has a strong foundation to grow manufacturing in the state. The abundance of advanced biofuel feedstocks, existing manufacturers, and the biofuel investment tax credit all support this growing industry.
- The advanced biofuels industry in Florida could employ an average of over 54,000 Floridians annually over the next 15 years.
“After extensive research, the American Jobs Project’s focus on solar and next-generation biofuels has identified strategies to spur job growth,” said Canan Balaban, Associate Director of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium. “The recommendations described in this report could be very helpful for state and local policy makers to develop these sectors, leverage Florida’s resources, and create an environment that attracts advanced energy businesses to our state.”
The American Jobs Project website, which launched this month, features reports on Florida and nine other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for advanced energy job growth. To learn more, or to download a copy of the Florida report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/florida/.