News>Obama visits Hill AFB to talk economy, solar industry jobs
President Barack Obama speaks to a group of Utah elected officials, base leadership, and news media April 3 at Hill AFB to announce Solar Ready Vets, a program that seeks to train veterans for jobs in solar energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)
President Barack Obama speaks with 75th Civil Engineer Group Director Harry Briesmaster III, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Utah community leaders regarding Hill's clean and renewable energy programs April 3 at Hill AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd)
4/3/2015 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- President Barack Obama spoke here April 3, 2015, during his first visit to the state as commander in chief.
The president addressed a group of Utah elected officials, base leadership and news media at Hill's solar array to announce a program called Solar Ready Vets, which seeks to train veterans for jobs in solar energy.
"What I'm doing here today is highlighting the fact that the solar industry is actually adding jobs ten times faster than the rest of the economy," Obama said.
Hill AFB will join nine other bases across the country to help meet the administration's goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. The initiative targets military personnel transitioning to the civilian workforce.
Obama said he plans to work with states to enable more veterans to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for solar job training.
"We've got to be relentless in our work to grow the economy and create good jobs," Obama said. "I think everybody here at Hill understands that one of the most important aspects of national security is strong economic security."
Obama said the new program is one of many steps to help nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get a job.
Hill is "leading by example" by getting 20 percent or more of its overall energy from renewable energy sources, he said.
"It was an honor to host the commander in chief during his visit to Utah," said Col. Ron Jolly, 75th Air Base Wing installation commander. "We take pride in the energy initiatives we have underway here, and we were able to showcase them during his visit."
The base's solar panels were completed in June 2009, making it Utah's largest ground-mounted photovoltaic system at the time.
Since taking office, the president has launched several initiatives to advance clean and renewable energy. Solar Ready Vets will help create more jobs, cut carbon pollution and make the country safer and more energy independent, he said.
Cutting energy costs will leave more money for training and equipment to ensure the U.S. military can do its job, he added.
The president noted that since 2008, solar energy has increased 20-fold.