California’s Imperial County has historically been one of the state’s most economically distressed regions, suffering from decades of underinvestment, unemployment and poverty. And the Great Recession has only added to the desert county’s woes, with unemployment running near 30 percent – a number not seen since the 1930s.
But with a third of the state’s energy supply required to come from green sources by 2020, labor, community and business leaders are hoping that the sun-drenched county can become the Golden State’s leading center for alternative energy and good-paying green jobs.
IBEW Local 569 opened the first union apprentice training facility in Imperial County last year. With its emphasis on green technology, the Imperial County Electric Training Center is expected to graduate its first class next spring.