Assembly worker Julaynne Trusel works on a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck. (AP) General Motors Restructuring
Assembly worker Julaynne Trusel works on a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck. (AP)

Building electric vehicles and addressing how environmental issues are hurting Michigan families. Here’s why these jobs are more important than ever.

MICHIGAN—Electric vehicles are already here, and more viable jobs are coming to Michigan to make them. And that means seeing green for the environment, economy and everyday families. 

Karl Bloss, vice president of the Southwest Michigan Electric Vehicle Association, said that the “automobile 2.0” is the next wave and going electric is the answer for the state.

“The carbon footprint is much lower with an electric vehicle,” the retired chemical engineer said, adding that there is a call to go green all the way. “One of the things we can all do [is] electrify everything—not just our vehicles but your home.”

Bloss believes that the traditional oil and gas industry jobs are still “pretty strong” but a lot of those jobs are transitioning to solar and wind technicians.

“They [green jobs] definitely need more people to work on whether it is solar or wind power,” he said. 

Leaders Embracing Clean Energy Futures 

Green energy jobs are part of the future that leaders in Michigan and across the nation are prioritizing, putting dollars behind, and creating career pathways for the next generation. 

Plans addressing climate change have become central to this year’s presidential election. 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has campaigned on a comprehensive green energy plan energizes the economy, too. 

His plan will create 10 million good-paying, middle-class, union jobs. 

Every federal dollar spent on rebuilding our infrastructure during the Biden Administration will be used to prevent, reduce, and withstand the impacts of this climate crisis, according to his plan. 

And Biden laid out his promise for a new restoration of the auto industry. He made an ambitious promise to modernize the entire fleet of federal vehicles to electric models, installing electric charging stations nationwide, and proposing a plan that resembled the early 2010s policy Cash for Clunkers. Biden also wants to lead by example, citing numerous times a desire to get himself a new electric Corvette. 

Biden’s push toward electric would help create a million jobs all through the supply chain.

Biden also heeds the warnings of climate change. Biden has also pledged to invest $400 billion over the next 10 years to research clean energy and increase power generated from clean sources like solar, wind, and nuclear sources. 

Clean jobs are also of major importance to Biden who included in his climate plan 10 million well-paying, clean jobs in the United States. 

“I’ll have American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations alongside our newly engaged infrastructure programs and highways all across the country,” he said of his clean jobs plan. 

READ MORE: Biden: No New Taxes for Anyone Who Makes Under $400,000 a Year

Biden’s plan to boost the local economy with green energy jobs, like building electric vehicles, is in line with Michigan’s latest commitments to address how climate change is impacting everyday families in the community. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just announced a plan to develop new clean energy jobs “by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050.”

 “The science is clear – climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy, and our families,” Whitmer said announcing the executive order. “This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately, which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.”

This means Michigan will have more green jobs in demand over the next 30 years to find such solutions. 

Central Michigan University student Lance Wood is one of the many future green-job holders. He studies environmental sciences because he has a passion that goes beyond himself with clean energy. 

“We are the home of the auto industry,” Wood said. “So, definitely making sure that we’re leading the way when it comes to green technologies in automobiles specifically, and kind of making sure that we invest in those companies who are based here in Michigan, and they in turn, invest in us and grow the economy here in the state.”

He said he only values the environment, but looks forward to the growth of a greener economy where the expansion of clean energy technology flourishes in the clean energy sector. The upcoming spring graduate likes that job security factor—but also wants a cleaner environment down the line for future generations.

Wood is looking into environmental policies when graduates and advocating on behalf of organizations and the like.

READ MORE: ‘A Fair Shot:’ This CMU Student Votes Because the Environment and Economy Aren’t Mutually Exclusive 

He added Biden’s “willing to admit the science of climate change” and that is a step in the right direction.

“That’s kind of reassuring coming from that standpoint of someone who cares for the environment, having someone in the White House who also shares that same kind of sentiment is important. … for the green economy specifically.

Growing in the Right Direction

Michigan’s public sector is embracing green futures, too. 

In a Consumers Energy press release, the company announced a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, which they describe as the next step in an industry-leading Clean Energy Plan that protects the planet for future generations.

READ MORE: Biden’s Plan for the Climate Is Focused on Clean Jobs. Trump Says ‘It Will Start Getting Cooler.’

Consumers Energy’s 2019 Clean Energy Plan, is described as “a road map to meet Michigan’s energy needs through 2040.” The energy provider plans to reduce 90 percent of the carbon emissions it uses by getting rid of the usage of coal and working with customers to use energy more efficiently, Weber explained. Consumers Energy expects to also avoid having to build three new power plants with customers’ help.

Scott A.Weber, director of Alternative Energy Solutions at Consumers Energy Co., Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicles, has a focus within Consumers Energy related alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles.

“It coincides with Governor Whitmer’s announcement—these are things that we are approaching within Consumers Energy,” Weber said. “The commitment she has made really drives us along similar paths.”

Weber added that the “cohesive plan” is driven toward the focus on carbon neutrality. He also said that there seems to be a “greater influence” on the presidential campaign towards reducing emissions. 

Reporters Katelyn Kivel and Keya Vakil contributed to this report.