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Recovery Act: One Year Later - Funding American Jobs and Competitiveness

One year ago, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law to bring America's economy back from the brink by giving most Americans the fastest and one of the largest tax cuts in history, creating and saving jobs, and laying the building blocks for long-term prosperity.

After months of non-partisan analysis showing that the Recovery Act is working, here's what the experts from different sectors of the economy are saying this week:

Clean Energy

Denise Bode, American Wind Energy Association CEO  

The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers…Recovery Act incentives spurred the growth of construction, operations and maintenance, and management jobs, helping the industry to save and create jobs in those sectors and shine as a bright spot in the economy.”

Dr. Chris Gronet, Solyndra CEO

“The Recovery Act accelerated our ability to move forward on our new solar panel factory, at a time when credit markets were very tight.  Since our groundbreaking last fall, Solyndra has created 3,300 jobs.  We are putting people to work in California making next-generation clean energy technology while additional Americans are seeing the benefit as we create hundreds of jobs at suppliers across 29 different states. The Recovery Act kept our Country moving forward in the right direction toward a green energy economy, and we are laying the foundation of a new solar manufacturing base and supply chain that will increase U.S. competitiveness for years to come.” 

Stephen Johnston, SmartSynch CEO

“The stimulus funds were designed to boost America's smart grid infrastructure by creating new jobs, offering solutions to the looming U.S. energy crisis, and enabling increased use of new and renewable technologies in high demand like hybrid and electric cars.  The funding has changed the Smart Grid sector forever as even the 3,000 utilities that did not receive funding are benefiting. Thanks to the stimulus, standards are emerging, functionality will increase and costs will drop.”

John Joyce, Ambient CEO

“The stimulus has preserved 50 jobs for Ambient, and has positioned us to grow our ranks. More importantly, it has enabled our company to provide U.S. Utilities the tools they need to proactively tackle energy efficiency, reliability and security issues outlined in our nation's energy policies.”  

Alex Molinaroli, President of Power Solutions for Johnson Controls-Saft 

 “This investment is an important step toward creating and building an industry in the United States that addresses market requirements and long-term opportunities for growth and new jobs in this country. Construction of our plant in Holland, Michigan is progressing as planned with battery pack assembly set to begin in August of this year and cell production starting in 2011.” 

Warwick Stirling, Global Director of Energy and Sustainability at Whirlpool

 “As a direct result of receiving a Smart Grid Investment Grant as part of the Economic Recovery program, Whirlpool immediately began to implement plans for the required product and technical development that is required to accelerate the uptake of smart appliances on a smart grid.  Whirlpool anticipates 80% of its grant award will be spent on payroll and funding to technology suppliers in developing these new products.”

Bob Gilligan, Vice President of GE Energy's Smart Grid Business

The stimulus demonstrates DOE's understanding of the smart grid as an economic and global competitiveness tool for all Americans.”

Paula Collins, Texas Instruments Vice President Government Relations 

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included important incentives and investments to drive energy efficiency, clean energy deployment and promote the deployment of smart grid technologies…TI was fortunate to compete successfully for the ARRA's Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit that that is being used in association with the opening of RFAB, the world's first 300 mm analog, LEED certified fabrication facility in Richardson, Texas.  RFAB will manufacture Power Management and Storage Products semiconductor devices that will achieve high levels of energy savings in their end use applications such as handsets, LCD TVs, notebook PCs, servers and hard disk drives.”

Education

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted one year ago, has indisputably been a life preserver that helped reduce the harmful impact of the recession on the most vulnerable people in our society. The ARRA created and saved jobs; helped states avoid draconian cuts in higher education, healthcare and other vital services; and preserved core education programs for students. While a state budget crisis can be little more than an inconvenience to many adults, it can have a devastating effect on students, especially those whose families have been hit hardest by the recession. Kids don't get a second chance to get a good education. The Recovery Act was the help they needed, ensuring that schools continued to receive resources so that teachers could teach and students learn.”

Michael Casserly, Council of the Great City Schools Executive Director

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been a financial lifeline for the nation's urban schools.  ARRA provided nearly $100 billion in various forms of federal assistance to the nation's schools and higher education institutions to help weather the economic tsunami.  The $40 billion in general aid and the $60 billion in categorical and school facilities aid provided critical resources to maintain essential education operations nationwide in 2009 and into 2010.  Tens of thousands of critical education jobs of teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses, instructional coaches, and other support personnel have been saved with ARRA funds, most frequently in our highest poverty schools.”

Highway/Construction

Larry Brown, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President

“The impact and importance of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has been invaluable. Its enactment one year ago provided the stepping stone we needed to move forward and build good transportation projects while creating jobs that may have gone by the wayside had it not been for ARRA funding.”

Janet Kavinoky, Americans for Transportation Mobility Executive Director

“A year after its passage, AARA funding for highways and public transportation created, supported, and saved transportation jobs and is leaving a legacy of economy-enhancing investments.” 

Ken Simonson, chief economist with the Associated General Contractor of America

“The stimulus is the one of the very few bright spots our industry experienced last year and is one of the few hopes keeping it going in 2010.”

Science, Innovation and Technology Companies

Justin Rattner, Intel Head of Labs and Chief Technology Officer

“The enhanced funding for basic science research in the ARRA - for key science agencies such as NSF, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and NIST - marked the beginning of the reversal of decades of neglect of our national science base. Research in the physical sciences is critical to innovation and the development of the new technologies and industries that will provide high-value jobs to future generations of Americans. On this front, ARRA was right on target and came just in time.” 

Gregory T. Lucier, Life Technologies Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

“NIH Recovery Act funding will be an important contributor to the success of our business this year.  We are a leading supplier of tools and technologies, such as gene sequencers, used by researchers to make life saving discoveries.  We have 35 people currently on payroll directly as a result of the stimulus, most of which are new hires, and anticipate more…NIH recovery act funding is driving near term economic activity, as well as long term economic benefits from improved health, the vitality of the US biotech industry, and driving whole new industries based on biological understanding.”

Dr. Maxine Gowen, Trevena CEO 

“The ARRA funding that Trevena received will unlock a revolutionary new area of science and medicine, the benefits of which could ultimately impact every American.  Trevena is grateful to be the steward of these resources, which will not only create many new jobs in this emerging field but will ignite new scientific discoveries which will be delivered back into the hands of our nation's best scientists. This private-public partnership should be a national model for innovation. We believe the breakthroughs funded by the ARRA will lead to the discovery and development of safer and more effective medicines and ultimately improve the healthcare of our citizens. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi' s leadership have ensured not only that jobs in this vital industry remain secured but that future discoveries and investment in science will fuel the next great expansion of our country.”  

Universities/Research

Glenn D. Mroz, Michigan Technical University President 

'At Michigan Tech, over $10M in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding is supporting research in national priority areas of water, energy, transportation, sustainability and manufacturing.  Perhaps of most importance, ARRA funding is being used to bring cutting edge training to over 100 automotive engineers who had been displaced due to the economy - these people are being retrained for the new workforce needed for hybrid engine technologies, battery technologies, and electric vehicle technologies in the State of Michigan and across the industry.'

Mark Emmert, University of Washington President

'The stimulus provided through ARRA has been responsible for retaining or creating nearly 1,100 jobs at the University of Washington thus far, and has brought more than $300 million to the state's economy.  The jobs that have been created are filled by professionals and technicians; keeping them in Washington is vital for the future of our state's economy. The projects themselves will have important long-term impact. One project will enable scientists to analyze individuals' genomes and develop predictive models for disease. This has important implications in providing customized preventive health care….'

Holden Thorp, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor

“ARRA funding has inspired a surge of new research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. By the end of January, our faculty had received $90 million in ARRA awards, accelerating and expanding their work on solar fuels, improved X-rays and treatments for prostate cancer, schizophrenia and many other diseases…Even in the short term, ARRA funding is having a significant economic impact in North Carolina. We estimate that ARRA funding at UNC-Chapel Hill has created or saved 265 jobs. But that is only the beginning. As our faculty members and students use ARRA funding to develop productive new lines of research, we will see a proliferation of ideas, breakthroughs and new business ventures that will yield a more vibrant economy and a higher quality of life.”

Bernadette Gray-Little, University of Kansas Chancellor

“At the University of Kansas, the Recovery Act has created jobs directly and is setting the stage for future job growth.  Because of the Recovery Act, we have created or retained more than 55 jobs at our Lawrence and Medical Center campuses.  But the real benefit comes from investments that have the potential to spur even greater job creation.  One of these is the $12.3 million National Institute of Standards and Technology grant for construction this spring of a new engineering research facility to study biofuels and other clean technologies.  This is exactly the sort of investment the U.S. needs to remain competitive globally and ensure that jobs in this growing field are created here in America.”

David Skorton, Cornell University President

'ARRA is good for universities.  Cornell University, at both campuses in Ithaca, N.Y., and New York City, as of Feb. 8 had received 207 ARRA grants worth about $143 million; one-third of the awards are for equipment and infrastructure and the rest are for research that has allowed the direct creation or retention of 242 jobs for researchers, lab technicians, graduate students and administrative personnel. The funds are making it possible for us to train the next generation of scientists and engineers with programs such as the development of a robotic scientist to run experiments too complex for humans, and the creation of software to help search engines learn on the job.” 

Paul Alivisatos, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director

“Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that a cumulative total of 269 jobs have been created or retained from Stimulus Funding through January 31, 2010. Beyond generating numerous jobs now, including many in our surrounding communities, the Recovery Act is funding a variety of advanced research at Berkeley Lab that can lead to new companies or even entirely new industries.  These funds will spur the development of new solutions to our nation's energy and environmental challenges.  If we do our jobs well today, we contribute directly to the creation of expanded high-tech employment in the future. There is no doubt that ARRA funding is accelerating our progress.”