Opportunity is growing as fast as our need for energy.
Call For ‘Green-Collar’ Workers
Rosalie Westenskow, May 24, 2007 (UPI)
Citigroup Inc., Bank of America, Yale Environment School, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (Van Jones, president), the Apollo Alliance (President Jerome Ringo), the Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) (Elsa Barboza, campaign coordinator), the Joint Global Change Research Institute (Jae Edmonds, chief scientist), Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
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Major funding commitments going into alternative energy projects is creating new job opportunities. Training and competence are now controversial. Some favor the well-educated, some favor blue-collar workers. Conservatives favor leaving the free market alone, liberals favor job programs. (See the Solis and Sensenbrenner remarks below.)
Citigroup’s commitment was made in May. B of A’s was in March. Both were 10-yeasr commitments.
Citigroup: $50 billion; Bank of America: $20 billion;
Training will be necessary, experts agree. An example is jobs in wind: wind turbine and tower manufacturers, wind farm maintenance workers.
The Apollo Alliance (a non-profit advocate for clean-energy job training) proposes $300 billion in federal funds to cities, over 10 years, to create 3 million jobs in building efficiency, renewable energy, investments, biofuels, etc., for low-income workers who have been hit disproportionately hard by global warming (example: Hurricane Katrina) and are likely to continue to be.
SCOPE proposes $100 million in LA for 2000 jobs energy-retrofitting (upgrading/replacing insulation, lights, heating and cooling systems, windows, etc. )100 city buildings.
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Dan Esty, co-author, "Green to Gold…” & director, Yales’ Center for Business and Environment: "There's a huge demand for people trained for environmental skills…We had a record number of applicants to our program (this year) and our graduates have many more job opportunities…"
Jones: "We believe the green, clean-energy economy can do more than create business opportunities for the rich…We also believe that the green economy can create job opportunities for the poor…The most important thing that the federal government can do right now on the job side is to make money available to cities to figure out their own strategies…"
Barboza: "Greening existing infrastructure such as buildings is a great way to preserve and make more sustainable older urban communities that have been neglected…Projects that pay a fair wage can also benefit the local community, particularly low-income urban workers."
Edmonds: “(Energy) technologies grow and are deployed in the context of an economy…Jobs are part of the production processes and therefore part of the deployment of those technologies."
Solis: “[Funding training will] create pathways out of poverty…Businesses are already doing this and the biggest complaint is that there isn't a trained workforce…That's what our job should be -- to boost that."
Sensenbrenner: "I believe the free market forces of the private sector offer the best road to job creation…I think relying on the government to create jobs is a dead end…Is installing a solar panel fundamentally different than installing a satellite dish? I have serious questions about what type of training will really be needed for so-called 'green collar' jobs."