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J. Mijin Cha on June 28, 2007 - 7:29am
Oakland's City Council unanimously approved allocating $250,000 as seed money to create the nation's first Green Jobs Corps. Oakland's Green Jobs Corp will provide complete job training for residents that have had barriers to employment. The job training includes case managements skills and vocational training in areas such as bio-fuels manufacturing and solar panel installation. Participants in the program finish with paid internships in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The program was envisioned by the Oakland Apollo Alliance and will eventually recruit green businesses to settle in Oakland to build links between businesses and job training programs-- a move that not only provides good jobs but is a huge boost to Oakland's economy.
The Broader Opportunity: The potential for Green Jobs Corps is not limited to Oakland. A recent study analyzed Los Angeles' green technology center and showed that there were seventeen different green technology industries in the city that could provide 500 or more jobs in L.A., had stable or growing employment and paid an average monthly wage of $2,500 or more in 2002. The study encouraged the city to develop the job potential in these areas that would not only have environmental gains, but provide good jobs for residents. The green technology jobs could provide a pathway out of the low-wage consumer services sector and into living-wage green jobs.
The blue-green marriage has long been promoted by the Apollo Alliance, who point to the benefits that arise when labor and environmentalists work together. The drain of manufacturing jobs has left a void in our economy and jobs tied to renewable energy development can fill that void.
The Oakland example is part of a larger trend; Sen. Bernie Sanders successfully pushed an amendment to the Energy Savings Act of 2007 that allots $100 million to train workers in green collar jobs, of which up to $40 million will go for state training partnership programs.