By Tom Murray
As a guy who has been trained for so long to look at sustainable manufacturing through an environmental lens, it was refreshing to hear what the “workforce side of manufacturing” was saying about a sustainability program I and representatives from five other federal agencies work on called E3: Economy, Energy and the Environment or, more simply, the E3 framework. At a panel discussion at the National Association of Workforce Board’s Forum in Washington, D.C. March 12, I learned how E3 has helped position several small manufacturing companies in North Carolina increase their work force, while improving their environmental and energy footprints.
By the way, Workforce Investment Boards or WIBS, for my environmental friends, are regional entities created to implement the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and direct federal, state and local funding to workforce development programs.
E3 brings together experts from number of federal and local community organizations — like workforce boards — to help small-to-medium sized manufactures grow and thrive within this new era of sustainability. At the conference, I was particularly impressed with some of the workforce statistics that are being reported from the North Carolina E3 effort. Companies there are starting to hire again which is great! Kudos to the Work Force Investment Boards and the fine work that continues in North Carolina.
About the author: Tom Murray joined EPA way back in 1971 and has never lost the passion for pollution prevention and helping manufacturers become more sustainable