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Green Jobs are Solutions for Model Green Cities and Companies

Ella Baker Center is leading the way in Green-Collar Job training.

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Cities Take On the Challenge of Green Productivity

Creating cities that work for people and with nature is a challenge being taken on by communities all over the world. Cities from Curitiba, Brazil to Oakland, California are trying to become "Model Green Cities" — cities designed for both environmental and social health.

A new, multi-billion dollar economic sector is emerging in these cities, bringing new opportunities in green construction, clean technology, urban agriculture and energy. The Green-Collar Jobs Campaign's goal is to ensure that this green economy is strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

In California, the Ella Baker Center is leading the way in Green-Collar Job training.

Van Jones Testifies Before Congress on 'Green-Collar' Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC - In a hearing before a congressional committee in Washington, Ella Baker Center President and Co-Founder Van Jones testified that a national transition towards large-scale use of clean energy technology would not only reduce heat-trapping pollution, but would also create hundreds of thousands of good American jobs and provide underserved communities a green pathway out of poverty. The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Chaired by Edward Markey (D-MA), welcomed Jones and other experts on clean energy and job development to discuss the vast economic, environmental and energy security potential of a clean energy future for America.

"Low-income communities are often the first to see pollution arrive, and the first to see good jobs leave," said Chairman Markey. "Our shared moral obligation to fight global warming and reduce oil dependence must include a commitment to job-creating clean energy solutions in our nation's struggling communities."

Reducing global warming pollution and oil imports will require an increase in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in the United States. This will necessitate a new cadre of "green-collar" workers needed for the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of clean-tech investments. The range of jobs and skills requirements is wide, but the potential employment impact is substantial: in a recent analysis the Cleantech Venture Network estimated that as many as 500,000 green collar jobs could be created by 2010.

At Tuesday's hearing, Jones discussed the potential of a national Clean Energy Jobs Corps - modeled after the Green Jobs Corps in Oakland - to provide an effective transition to a green economy that is positive economically and distributes benefits widely across demographic groups.

Currently, a large proportion of dirty power generation exists in low-income urban communities where problems in education, health, crime, employment, and affordable housing are endemic. Including these communities in the economic expansion promised by the green economy has the potential to bring large numbers of people out of poverty, while improving the environment and public health, Jones and other witnesses testified.

"The leaders in our low-income communities have seen the ties between asthma and global warming," Chairman Markey continued. "Global warming and clean energy are not just environmental issues, but economic and human rights issues as well."

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