Missouri’s clean energy industry hit hard by pandemic

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Mo. — More than 9,000 Missouri workers filed for unemployment due to COVID-19.

Missouri’s clean energy industry suffered a lot of job losses these past couple of months.

One in six Missourians employed by a clean energy business this past January are now out of a job.

Micaela Preskill with Environmental Entrepreneurs says job losses in the clean energy industry is significant.

“Despite indications that we heard that a robust economic recovery is underway, that’s just not what we’re seeing in clean energy,” Preskill said.

The clean energy industry was growing at a rapid rate before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Faster than total statewide employment,” Preskill said. “So the reason why the industry has taken a hit in recent months is because of COVID.”

Sunny Sanwar with Dynamhex explains why the virus affected the business this much.

“It lengthened our sales cycles, so we had to move things around a lot,” Sanwar said. “We had to pivot almost on a weekly basis.”

Sanwar says some of the people who got laid off are having a tough time finding new jobs.

“I do know quite a few people, they would have to maybe give them half the hours, or go just for three months, or straight up having to depart from the team,” Sanwar said. “It’s really hard to just pivot over like three weeks and start a new career.”

But Preskill is hopeful the industry will get back on its legs here in Missouri.

“If we’re going to make the impact on climate change that our country and the state of Missouri needs to see, then we need to make sure that the clean energy workforce, not just comes back, but comes back better, and stronger than it was before,” Preskill said.

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