U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet met Saturday with trainees and future business entrepreneurs who hope to reshape their lives in the expanding renewable-energy field.
They are among as many as 6,000 Colorado residents who will get new "green jobs" directly or indirectly because of the $80 million that Colorado will get through the federal economic recovery act, Bennet said.
"We can give them a different kind of future," he said. "You can't export these jobs. It will also reduce our reliance on foreign oil."
Lesa Theaman is among people learning to install solar panels along with other renewable-energy skills at Mi Casa Resource Center at 360 Acoma St.
Theaman said after a felony drug conviction, the free training at Mi Casa helped her find hope for the future.
"I've turned my life around," she said. "I wanted something better for myself."
Theaman, who is applying for an electrician's apprenticeship program, showed Bennet two solar panels used in a Mi Casa class. She said with 20 such panels, someone could light and heat their home.
"I think it's phenomenal what we could do with solar power," she said. "Having 300 days of sunshine a year is huge for solar."