Letter: Friday summit promises need to ask questions
On Oct. 20 , 2010, it was announced that the new multipurpose Marine Commerce Terminal was going to be built in New Bedford.
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#1 May 3, 2012
Minority leader demands access to green jobs summit
var isoPubDate ='May 01, 2012'By ARIEL WITTENBERG
May 01, 2012 12:00 AM
NEW BEDFORD — A summit this week on green jobs creation has one South End minority activist railing that his community was not included in the event's planning and calling the entry fee "exclusionary" of low-income community members.
The Ocean Energy Workforce Development Summit being held at the whaling museum Friday aims to inform SouthCoast residents of the development and preparation that might be needed to bring renewable energy manufacturing to the region.
"Technologies like offshore wind, wave tide and current energy systems requires a workforce with special skills," Marine Renewable Energy Center Conference manager Maggie Merrill said. "This is going to give us an idea of the kinds of workers that are needed to service these projects that could be coming to the region."
But John "Buddy" Andrade of the Old Bedford Village Development Corp. said he was offended that no minority activist groups were involved in the planning of the event.
"When they are talking about the unemployment rate being so high, what are the demographics of those numbers? They are minorities from the southern peninsula," he said. "Who do they think this future workforce is? It's us and we didn't have a seat at the table."
Andrade has long advocated for better access to jobs and job training for New Bedford's low-income and minority residents.
Beyond the exclusion of minorities from the planning process, Andrade said the $35 to $45 tickets to the summit make the event inaccessible to those in his community who need the information.
When Andrade heard of the event last week, he called the summit's keynote speaker, Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass. Keating spoke to the event's organizers, obtaining free tickets for Andrade and members of his organization.
"Each and every group who can further the conversation of how we create more jobs in our area should be part of our area," Keating wrote in a statement to The Standard-Times. "The renewable energy industry has great potential to address the high unemployment rates on the South Coast, so this is an issue where the entire community needs to be involved."
Miller said while she welcomes Andrade to the event, his free entry is the exception to the rule.
"This is not a job fair," she said. "If it was a job fair, I presume it would be at no charge."
"The panels feature people who know what they are talking about and who are experts in their field," she said. "This is more a discussion of city and state policies that might be impacted if we bring this energy to the South Coast. Everyone is welcome, but there are costs for putting on an event and the expenses need to be covered somehow."
Andrade is undecided about whether he will attend the summit and is considering abstaining out of protest that there is still a cost for the event for others.
"I understand that the jobs aren't going to be here tomorrow," he said. "But if you are at this event and telling people the qualifications that a future employee would need to have to be hired, how is someone who is unemployed now and can't afford to go going to access that information? How can we be prepared?"
#2 May 3, 2012
New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal ($1.6 Million Engineering MassCEC)- This project develops a 28.25 acre facility to support offshore energy development; Import/export trade; and American Marine Highway Trade
Was this the money used to hire a Tacoma ,Washington engineering firm ?
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