SAN JOSE (KCBS) – U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Wednesday that Silicon Valley is a good example of how a clean energy revolution is helping put Americans back to work.

Solis spoke at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus yard after touring a facility where VTA operators were being trained to drive 90 hybrid buses. The vehicles were obtained under a $53 million federal stimulus grant.

Solis said the key to lowering the unemployment rate is retraining workers for green tech jobs.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“The projections that I see are that the green technological sector is the one that’s going to keep growing here,” said Solis. “So there isn’t an absence of people that can’t come in and fill these jobs, it’s just that we need to retrain people. That’s what we’re hearing today, that there are all these people from different walks of life that can be retrained in the workforce.”

Peter Yates is one of those people. He was laid off from his banking industry job, and is now a VTA hybrid bus driver.

“I had the corner office in the sky, and now people call me and they say, ‘really, you’re an operator?’ But I say those days are gone for me,” said Yates.

Solis said that median wages in the clean tech sector are 13 percent higher than non-green jobs.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (7)
  1. smketr says:

    An example of how the clean energy revolution is putting Americans back to work? Let me take a poll here. How many of you folks out there that lost their jobs in the last two years believe that being hired as a bus driver by the county is a sign that jobs are back? And just what projections is the Labor Secretary looking at? Unemployment claims are back up again this week and have been since April of this year. Well one thing for sure, that would solve the education problem since you don’t need a degree to drive a bus or do you? Perhaps the Madam Secretary is visioning everyone in the county driving a bus.

  2. carol says:

    I wouldn’t be suprised if they aren’t visioning everyone riding in a bus why not Big Government is doing it’s best to control our life and there is another $53 Mil down the drain but they will say anything and hope we will swallow it or they will impose it on you like it or not

  3. LEE MENT says:

    Don’t worry be happy!!!!:0

  4. LIta says:

    I can just hear the comment now. You have been unemployed for over 2 years, no experience driving a bus, we won’t come right out and tell you, but you look too old, and are you strong enough to change a bus tire, and do you have a B.S. degree. For over 2 years I have seen a lot of discrimination. Oh, I forgot, that’s illegal. So prove it! Laid off over 2 years ago, discriminated because of long term unemployment, too old (I am a 60 year old woman), I don’t have a four year degree, just SOL, like many others. And it doesn’t take a B.S. degree to know there is not such thing as GLOBAL WARMING. Al Bore is such a fake. Common sense people, use your head. Who is going to be riding the blasted bus anyway, the unemployed? Will it be free? Soon to be homeless, maybe I can move to a bus.

  5. rich says:

    So will these drivers make 13% more driving these buses? Will we have more bus drivers?