Is a shortage of workers who can put up solar panels and build green roofs what's holding up development of a "green economy"? That's part of the premise behind "Green for All," a national jobs training project that launched today at the Clinton Global Initiative. Its goal is to set up jobs training programs that will create a force of 250,000 green-collar workers, drawn from the communities of "poor urban Americans" -- by which we should read African-Americans, as the group's announcement makes clear:
"It's time the African American community had a part in the discussion on climate change," said [founder Van Jones]. "We are not going to solve global warming just with expensive consumer choices like buying hybrid cars and shopping for organic food. People need to realize that you don't have to be white or wealthy to benefit from going green."
The Green for All campaign is a bold effort to harness the growing power of the green economic revolution to fight the war on poverty. By securing job training for 250,000 workers from urban communities for the emerging green job market, the program will provide new avenues of opportunity for those who have traditionally been left behind by the nation's economic growth. It will also give the crusade against global warming a broader social base, extending the green revolution to the neglected streets of cities like Oakland, Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans...
"By giving the urban poor an economic stake in the environmental movement, Green for All demonstrates how the green revolution must embrace all races and social groups," said Jones. "This is the next wave of the environmental movement in minority communities: we are moving beyond equal protection to equal opportunity."
This is, of course, the same idea behind Sustainable South Bronx, founded by Majora Carter to bring green jobs training and environmental justice to one of New York's poorest and unhealthiest neighborhoods. It's great to see this agenda going national -- and it'll be interesting to see what that takes to succeed. Not much info online about this yet; here's a letter from the founder on Portland Indymedia.
I'm all for improving the lot of Poor Urban Americans (black, white, brown, spotted [that's me!] ) In our little burg, the local community college has started a Solar Installer training program (and community workshops as well).
We are a primarily white town, but with a larger percentage than "normal" in poverty (14% vs. 9%). It is also an aging town (avg. 40). Hopefully programs like this will encourage more youth to stay (and/or more professionals to move in).