E3 is Creating Job Opportunities in North Carolina

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

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Science Wednesday: Smart Investments: Technology for the Planet and the Economy

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

About the author: April Richards is an environmental engineer with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, where she helps manage EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. She recently organized the SBIR kick-off meeting for the new early-stage technology developers that received funding from EPA.

We recently held our kick-off meeting for new small businesses awarded EPA funding to develop innovative technologies for solving environmental problems. It was so exciting to have a room full of entrepreneurial engineers and scientists putting their collective brainpower toward solving such important issues as climate change, air pollution, renewable energy, infrastructure, and water quality monitoring.

“It’s great to know EPA wants us to succeed,” was one company’s way of summing up the meeting. We sure do!

The original idea of the SBIR Program was to tap into the wealth of engineering and scientific expertise of small businesses to address federal government’s pressing research and development needs. Given that small business (particularly in technology) is often referred to as the “engine of U.S. economic growth”—providing the majority of the country’s new jobs—this idea makes more sense now than ever before.

There’s never been a better time to match the need for economic growth with environmental protection through the creation of “green jobs.”

There is so much potential for developing technology that both benefits the environment and keeps the U.S. competitive in the global market. As EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a recent e-mail to Agency staff, we shouldn’t have a “false choice of a strong economy or a clean environment.” The concepts are mutually beneficial.

New, “green” technologies that use less raw and toxic materials, generate smaller streams of waste, and emit fewer emissions are good for the environment and the bottom line. For example, several of the SBIR companies represented at the meeting are exploring ways to harvest what is now considered waste to create building materials, cleaner energy, or other valuable commodities.

Companies face many hurdles getting their technologies into the marketplace, where they can ultimately have a positive impact on the environment. But the potential is tremendous, and it’s reassuring to know that so many smart people are working on this common goal, and with some help from EPA, can develop technologies which help the planet and the economy.

For more information about EPA’s efforts to match technology innovation with environmental needs, visit: http://www.epa.gov/etop/

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.