Monday, February 09, 2009

WIND POWER BLOWING IN NEW JOBS

ABC News - Hundreds of workers lost their jobs after the Rockwell-Goss printing press factory closed here in Cedar Rapids in 2001. The hulking empty shell sat idle on the outskirts of the city for four years. Wind power sweeps new jobs into old-tech towns Two wind turbines stand near a traditional windmill on a farm near Mount Carmel, Iowa. Wind power has been sweeping new jobs into old-tech towns.

But that was before wind power blew into town, bringing thousands of clean-tech manufacturing jobs to Iowa and the Midwest.

In many cases, the new industry is setting up shop in defunct heavy manufacturing plants, bringing new economic life and vitality to old settings.

Bob Loyd, who once oversaw crews manufacturing the last printing presses to leave the old Rockwell-Goss factory, now manages workers assembling the newest generation of giant wind turbines in the same building.. . .

Before the nation's financial crisis hit, wind manufacturing was on a roll. Riding a wave of wind-farm development, some 55 new or expanded facilities popped up nationwide just last year -- from blade manufacturers to bearing makers -- in what some describe as a new north-south wind manufacturing corridor running roughly from Minnesota to Texas.

Such growth brought more than 1,000 new "green collar" jobs in wind manufacturing to Iowa just last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Nationwide, wind-turbine manufacturing added 13,000 jobs for a total of 85,000 wind workers last year.