Following Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, which explicitly spelled out the human impact on the environment, the concern for out planet’s welfare increased appreciably. Subsequently, in August 2007 then U. S. Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA) sponsored the Green Jobs Act of 2007 (H.R. 2847). The passage of this Act provided millions of dollars to fund green collar jobs in this woefully under-trained sector of our economy. The Act reserved $25 million dollars of the total to fund environmental job training for low income individuals.
Secretary of Labor Solis supports training Americans for environmental careers as the priority of the federal government. For example, she supports California’s Green Corps Project that has been launched in conjunction with the release of Stimulus funds. This will train at-risk youth ages 16-24 for green collar jobs in a state that has double digit unemployment rate. It will train at least 1000 youth in a 20 month pilot program at 10 Green Corps centers throughout the state. It provides a stipend for each student, education, and community service.
The Stimulus Package/Recovery Act has also given well-meaning green legislation that was underfunded more money including programs for laid off workers at individual businesses that have closed during this recession. For example, through the Workforce Investment Act, $3.95 billion dollars in training and employment services to youth, displaced workers, and older adults is being provided. These are being distributed through formula block grants. Retraining these workers to work within the green economy is crucial to overall economic stability of the U. S.
It is about energy independence and developing green careers in harmony with social and economic sectors of society.
Environmental careers have been identified by Solis as a segment of our economy which is high growth. Solis believes these new jobs will also yield higher wages than average. It will promote energy independence that works in harmony with the social and economic sectors of society. We will all benefit from this all encompassing approach to heal our economy while fostering environmental career development.
Secretary of Labor Solis uses her current position to showcase exemplary community partnerships throughout the country that are implementing environmental job training programs the Green Jobs Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, often called the Stimulus Package.)
Environmental careers may not be the only way out of the economic recession, but the strong infusion of cash from ARRA to provide jobs in renewable and energy efficiency fields will certainly help to ease the ailing economy over the next few years. The hope of the Obama Administration is that the green economy will take off with this jump-start into a vital segment of the 21st century employment picture.