Carly Rang is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center. As a local of the Tri-Cities, Carly is deeply committed to advancing projects that provide opportunities for the community, especially good, family-supporting jobs.
Her own family moved to West Richland where she graduated from Hanford High School. She describes her parents as working-class, who instilled in her strong skill-building and practicality to ensure she had ample opportunities to succeed. As a first-generation college graduate, Carly studied Political Economy and began working with advocates in the labor community – folks who would fight on behalf of families just like her own.
“I like community organizing, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Carly. “It’s really wonderful that I can focus on building relationships as a career because I really like connecting around ideas and values.”
Carly got her start in community outreach working on political campaigns. Through this work, she built relationships with other local trade groups who would join rallies and events in solidarity. She found that many workers in the region are also involved in causes with a lot of common values. Her own passion for fair wages, safe working conditions, education and professional development, and expanded rights for workers and working families deepened as she worked alongside the many different trades represented in campaign work. These values remain core to Carly’s community work as an executive board member at IUPAT local 116, the first union in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to non-profit, campaign, and political workers.
“I want to see these values of family-wage jobs and work/life balance reflected in more industries,” said Carly. “That’s why I’m really passionate about having a solutions-focused career.”
Following the 2020 campaigns and mid-pandemic, Carly found it harder to meet with people, but because of the strong community in the Tri-Cities, she was able to maintain and build deeper connections with friends and within the labor community. She opted to stay local and connected with Horse Heaven.
“When I learned about the Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center, and specifically how much money was going to come into the community for local jobs, I got really excited about it,” said Carly. “These kinds of good-paying jobs and the additional investments that will go into the local workforce are life-changing in many ways.”
Indeed, an independent economic analysis concluded that at over the project’s 35-year timeline, the Horse Heaven Clean Energy Center could invest more than $260 million back into the community. On top of that, the average income for an employee supporting ongoing operations would be $88,900 – $90,900. For Carly, these numbers represent the values she prioritizes in her work with labor – a clear commitment to family-wage jobs and community investments, especially in education to support local teachers and children.
“Like many of the jobs I’ve had, I need to feel something positive coming from this. I want to feel like I’m helping someone somewhere,” said Carly. “I see this project as a part of the solutions we are all looking for.”
Carly sees projects like Horse Heaven as a way to support her community in more ways than one. Not only does it provide the promise of good jobs it could also provide opportunities for farmers to lease land and gain new resources. She also sees connections with the IBEW wind training facilities across the country and she envisions the Tri-Cities as a leader for the next generation of clean energy engineers through apprenticeships and job opportunities that keep the community a livable place for young families.
“We need more family wage jobs, especially in this family-centric community,” Carly remarked. “My family moved here in part because it’s a great place to start a family – it’s safe, with good schools and great civic involvement. The people here care deeply about the community and want to see it succeed.”
“At the end of the day, this work is about solutions and helping each other,” she continued. “This project is prioritizing the future to meet clean energy goals while also providing for ourselves. This offers even greater levels of self-sufficiency for our community. I hope that people will rally around new infrastructure and the investments it brings, that could be such a game changer for the region.”