Labor Secretary Says More Jobs Coming to Nevada - 8 News NOW

Labor Secretary Says More Jobs Coming to Nevada

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LAS VEGAS, Nv. -- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis came to Las Vegas to announce more stimulus money that should turn into more jobs. The money will go toward making homes more energy efficient.

Solis toured an NV Energy operations center. She announced the Department of Energy awarded $138 million to the power company to upgrade all homes in the valley to smart grid technology. These smart meters will tell homeowners what room the largest power drain comes from.

CEO Michael Yackira says this stimulus money will bring new jobs in February. "Having to convert 1.4 million meters by 2012. That is about 200 jobs. That is just the surface," he said.

He says about another 200 jobs will be created in the development of the program, but what about other sectors?

Nevada received $209 million for transportation projects. A Congressional committee ranked Nevada 47th the nation for the number of jobs transportation stimulus money created. Less than 200 people found work.

The state lost 60,000 jobs between August 2008 and August 2009. Secretary Solis says all the money will translate to jobs. "We are in that mode where it's going to take us a little while, but we are going to get there," she said.

She says that many people are happy the stimulus package passed. "Finally someone has made, I think, a conscious effort to rebuild and make some very, very strong and meaningful investments," she said.

Solis says those investments will give businesses confidence to stop shrinking the work force.

AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Danny Thompson represents 200,000 workers in Nevada. He says the problem is state government. For example, Nevada received home weatherization money and the state chose to use it for re-training. "I have thousands, literally thousands, of people statewide trained and certified and ready to go to work tomorrow if they would release that money," he said.

Governor Jim Gibbons' office he says the state must follow the law to distribute the money. In the case of making homes more energy efficient, the governor says lawmakers chained the money by passing a bill requiring training for workers.

His office says they are working as fast as they legally can to use the money to create new jobs. Secretary Solis says the money is there and will trickle through eventually.

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