Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus welcomed nearly 200 regional attendees to the Holiday Inn in Fishkill this morning as he kicked off Opportunity Knocks: Creating a Green Workforce in the Hudson Valley – a Green Jobs Summit. Regional leaders from across the Hudson Valley, including Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef as well as officials from Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, gathered to discuss the labor needs of the region’s emerging green economy.
“We need to be positioned to retrain our workers with new skill sets so we are prepared to take advantage of advancements being made in green technology,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “We were thrilled to announce Spectra Watt will be coming to Dutchess County as New York State’s first solar manufacturing plant. SpectraWatt will help us to attract other green advanced technology and we need to be sure our workforce is ready.”
SpectraWatt, Inc., a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells used by solar module suppliers, recently announced its plan to begin production in a former IBM building in East Fishkill, New York. SpectraWatt’s new Dutchess County facility will be the first solar manufacturing plant in New York State. SpectraWatt plans to invest up to $81 million to begin operations and anticipates creating at least 150 new jobs in the next two years.
County Executive Steinhaus also discussed his ongoing commitment to the “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda and highlighted several recent County government initiatives to help protect the environment and save taxpayer dollars. Those initiatives included geothermal heating and cooling built into the design of recent building projects including the Eastern Dutchess Government Center, the Emergency Operations Center and the soon to be constructed Highway Operations and Engineering Headquarters. The combined energy savings for taxpayers is estimated to be close to $150,000 annually. Other initiatives have included converting the LOOP bus fleet to less polluting, low sulfur fuel and installation of automated salt spreaders on county snowplows to minimize the amount of salt put on roadways. County Executive Steinhaus encouraged business leaders to look for ways to adopt energy savings in their own organizations and look for opportunities to create new jobs by embracing green technology and advancements.
The Green Jobs Summit was sponsored by the seven regional Workforce Investment Boards representing Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.