SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – When President Barack Obama stepped on to the stage at Savannah Technical College, he wasted no time trying to tackle the number one issue facing this country and right here at home - the economy.
"I have no more important job as President than seeing to it that every American who wants to work can find a job and a job that pays a living wage," explained President Obama.
He went on to say with all of his new proposals, he's trying to lay a foundation that creates jobs and raises incomes. One way is through a new plan he calls "Home Star". It would essentially immediately reward homeowners who upgrade their homes, making them more energy efficient.
"The homeowner would be eligible for a rebate from the store or the contractor for 50 percent of the cost of each upgrade up to $1,500. Now, if you decided to retrofit your whole house to greatly reduce your energy use, you'd be eligible for a rebate of up to $3,000. You'd get these rebates instantly from the hardware store or the contractor. So, if you went to Lowe's or Home Depot, or wherever you went, right there when you paid at the cash register, you'd get that money. You wouldn't have to mail in a long form, wait for a check to arrive months later," that's how the president laid out the plan.
Many contractors, like Larry Lasseter with Wellhome, a home improvement company, are on board and raring to go just as soon as this plan is approved. "We are strong proponents of the President's program at Wellhome. We know we can help American homeowners make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient. We can guarantee the first year of the energy saving. We know it will work and put Americans back to work," said Larry Lasseter.
Many of those Americans could very well be students at Savannah Tech. The president praised the administration and students for their work in the YouthBuild program. Funded by the recovery act, it teaches students about clean energy. While they get class credit, they also build homes for low income families. "The idea that this can be a model to link students to the tremendous job opportunities and business opportunities that exist in the future. These are the skills that will transform the country and the way we produce and use energy," maintained President Obama.
With Georgia's unemployment rate around 10 percent , the President believes these future graduates could be the key to getting the nation back on track and that's his top priority. The President is convinced that the country that leads in clean energy will be the country that leads the global economy. He wants America to be that nation.