Green Jobs Act Passes
Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Green Jobs Act.
To understand the impact, I quote from a blog written by Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights located in Oakland, CA.
This ground-breaking legislation will make $120 million a year available across the country to begin training workers (and would-be workers) for jobs in the clean energy sector. When the bill becomes law, 35,000 people a year will benefit from cutting edge, vocational education in fields that could literally save the Earth.
Lofty as that sounds, the Green Jobs Act is responding smartly to an important, practical need. To beat global warming and meet the energy challenges of the future, the United States will need hundreds of thousands of “green-collar workers.” Such workers will be needed to install millions of solar panels; weatherize homes and other buildings; create a sufficient quantity of bio-fuels; build and maintain wind-farms and much, much more. Without these workers, the country will not have the working muscle and hands-on smarts to change our trajectory and fashion a different future.
There is an added bonus found in creating a strong, green-collar workforce: these energy-saving, air-quality-improving, carbon-cutting jobs can do more than just save the planet or help avoid oil wars in the future. For tens of thousands of Americans who are falling behind in the global job market, these work opportunities can also create “green pathways out of poverty.”
At their best, green-collar jobs offer living wages and upward mobility — in growth industries. And most of these jobs simply cannot be outsourced to other countries. The reason is simple: the solar panels and wind farms must be constructed here in the United States, not overseas. And the millions and millions of buildings that need to be retrofitted to save more energy cannot be shipped over to China. They all must be weatherized where they stand — right here in the United States.
Therefore, green-collar jobs can provide secure employment for U.S. workers.
The key is to make sure that those people who most need the jobs — urban youth, returning veterans, struggling farmers, displaced workers from our manufacturing sectors — can get all the training they need to fill those posts.
Unfortunately, so far, the United States has no coherent strategy for training enough workers to meet the growing labor demand in the green and clean energy sectors.
Imagine making going green an engine for America's economic future. Imagine replacing all of those outsourced jobs with jobs right here in America. Imagine giving hope to inner city youth - especially important in Sacramento where violence is taking so many of our youth - either by death or lifetimes in jail.
Word is that President Bush is going to veto this bill. If you believe that the passage of this bill is an important step to turn greening America into a reality in which all of our population can share, please contact the White House and ask him to reconsider.
The Sacramento Executive