Green collar economic development: Faribault 2, Northfield 1

green-jobsToday, Faribault’s Sage Electrochromics was cited in the Strib for winning “a $72 million federal loan guarantee for a major expansion of its manufacturing facility, where the company has developed ‘smart’ glass for windows and skylights that reduce energy use.”

Two weeks ago, Faribault’s McQuay plant was cited in the Strib for “using $1.3 million in new federal tax credits to revamp a manufacturing plant to make more energy efficient air-conditioners.”

In January, Northfield’s Cardinal Glass was cited in the Strib for receiving “$7.7 million of new federal funds to convert its residential-glass factory into a solar glass-coating plant.” (A tip of the blogger hat to Larry DeBoer for alerting me to it.)

I don’t know to what extent the people involved with Northfield’s economic development ecosystem (see organizations below) are pursuing green collar manufacturing jobs. I found a few mentions:

The June 2008 Northfield MN Energy Task Force Report included this recommendation (p. 4):

Develop local policies and initiatives that help create demand for green collar occupations through public sector investments and incentives and requirements that drive private sector investments.

The packet for the Tuesday April 21, 2009 Environmental Quality Commission Meeting had an item titled “Green” Jobs Discussion:

Peter Schmelzer reported. How to entice “green” businesses and businesses committed to “green” business practices to the newly annexed property in Northfield. There is a subcommittee being formed from EDA members, Suzie Nakasian will provide contact information to Schmelzer.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin (Regi!), director of the Rural Enterprise Center, published a blog post in Oct, 2007 titled Northfield’s Latino/a Economic Development and Thinking Green

For my work in Latino communities, the vision of "green industries" has a specific appeal and carries a powerful argument with tools to create hope and invigorate local leaders to take action and become more active in exploring and launching green businesses.

The June 8, 2007 edition of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal featured an article titled Northfield striving to become tech town. I cited the article a month later in a blog post titled  Northfield becoming Silicon Valley and North Beach; but what about green collar manufacturing? in which I pointed to Tom Friedman’s (NY Times columnist) April 2007 article, The Power of Green, and his YouTube video, Green is the New Red, White, and Blue.

Northfield has an economic development ecosystem that includes the Economic Development Authority (EDA) , the Northfield Enterprise Center, the City of Northfield Economic Development Dept, the Northfield Enterprise Center, the Rural Enterprise Center, the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Northfield Downtown Development Corp (NDDC) , and venture capital folks like 3C Capital Partners and Granite Equity Partners. (Did I miss anyone?)

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