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Forum to focus on energy jobs for minorities

Bobby L. Rush

Bobby L. Rush

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Updated: April 1, 2014 10:26AM



U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush is hosting a panel discussion in Chicago on Saturday on increasing the number of blacks and Latinos working in the energy industry.

Rush, D-1st, said there’s a “lack of blacks and Hispanics who are engaged in the energy sector from the standpoint of both employment and ownership opportunities. ... I have emphasized the need to reach out to minority communities and engage them in this lucrative sector.”

The public meeting is being held by the American Association of Blacks in Energy and Hispanics in Energy at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 office, 2260 S. Grove St.

AABE president Paula Jackson said she expects about 150 people at Saturday’s event, including executives of oil and natural gas companies, elected officials and business owners. But she also said she hopes people who are interested in working in the energy field also attend.

“We want to make sure people in our communities know about these opportunities,” Jackson said.

She said a recent report by the American Petroleum Institute shows that many blacks and Latinos largely are unaware of opportunities in the energy industry.

Jackson said it’s unclear why more minorities have not pursued energy jobs. The good-paying blue-collar jobs may require someone to relocate, but many jobs only require a two-year technical degree or an 18-month apprenticeship with a union, she said.

Rush said he plans to introduce a bill in Congress based on the institute’s report. It outlines a strategy for collaboration among the Energy, Education and Labor departments and schools, labor unions and other organizations to recruit, teach and train minorities for energy jobs.



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