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Carbon Fiber Technology Facilty holds an open house in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Department of Energy photo

Facility at a glance

Name: Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

Location: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Owner: U.S. Department of Energy

Investment: $34.7 million from the 2009 stimulus measure

Staff: 25 people

Operating budget: $5.5 million

Size: 42,000 square foot tech lab with metal spun precursor capacity of 65 tons per year on polyethylene, carbon fiber production of 24k PAN tows

Director: Lee McGetrick

OAK RIDGE, TENN. - One of the offshoots of improving the U.S. manufacturing base for clean energy is supposed to be jobs creation, and nobody appreciates that more than Rick Chambers, a technician at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's new Carbon Fiber Technology Facility.

Two years ago, at age 55, the Scott County, Tenn., resident lost his job managing a research lab in the hardwood flooring industry. He was another victim of the economic downturn.

"For the first time in my life, I became unemployed, and I found that although I had 35 years of experience in quality control and research and development, being an older employee made it difficult to find a rewarding job," he said.