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Community Green Collar Job Creation Strategies

Green Job Programs provide both community infrastructure renewal and job training and skills for unemployed community members across the spectrum from unskilled to leader roles.

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CGS Training Directory

Review the green and sustainable training courses and resources available to our readers. Check back often, new green job/career training courses are added frequently. TRAINING CATALOG

Green Jobs Programs for Training and Placement

Green jobs are growing, and in demand because people want to do something they can be proud of...to contribute healthful solutions instead of making their community problems worse.

Green job programs are beginning to develop to help workers from unprepared youth to qualified leaders develop the mindset, the skills and the tools needed to green our workplaces and communities.

The federal "green jobs" program will assist in developing training programs, and universities are beginning to develop green business and sustainability courses of study -- from auto repair to green MBAs.

California Community College Green Job Training Programs

Participants in some California Community College green job training programs will finish their program with 6-month paid internships in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green construction projects.

Effective green work programs for new job seekers provide wrap-around services including basic literacy, life skills and job readiness training, financial management, environmental awareness, and other specialized support services.

Effective Community Green-Collar Job Programs

Communities have a wonderful opportunity to take what earlier generations learned from the CCC and WPA programs -- rebuild the community at the same time job training and skills are provided.

The following steps are essential to building an effective green-collar jobs program in your community:

  1. Identify your environmental and economic goals, and assess local and regional opportunities for achieving those goals.
  2. Enact policies and programs to drive investment into targeted green economic activity and increase demand for local green-collar workers.
  3. Prepare your green-collar workforce by building green-collar job training partnerships to identify and meet workforce training needs, and by creating green pathways out of poverty that focus on recruitment, job readiness, job training, and job placement for low-income residents.
  4. Leverage your program’s success to build political support for new and bolder policies and initiatives. As you embark on this process, remember that cities can’t “job train” their way to a strong green economy. A sustainable, high-quality green-collar jobs program depends, at its core, on linking workers to good, permanent jobs with opportunities for career advancement.

Los Angeles Apollo Alliance Partners with City to Create Jobs and Opportunities in Green Retrofits

The Los Angeles Apollo Alliance has been making huge strides in its Green Jobs Campaign to retrofit city buildings and create jobs for low income residents. In June 2007, the city council established a City Retrofit Jobs Task Force, including council members, city agencies, and L.A. Apollo Alliance representatives, to coordinate and lead the retrofit work. Task Force members have begun to identify workforce needs, financing mechanisms for the retrofit work, and funding for the training program, which will begin in 2008.

Look for creative ways to use public investment, policy mandates, and other incentives to expand the market for green products and services.

Encourage firms to meet the demand for new products and services by investing in local businesses and workers. Building a green economy is not just about creating or attracting new business; it is about helping existing businesses take advantage of emerging opportunities in the green sector. Your city can help local firms expand and create new green-collar jobs by connecting them to markets for green products and services. Often a small change—such as posting an online database of local suppliers, or creating a revolving loan fund to help manufacturers retool to create new component parts—can help existing local businesses reach new green markets.

Connect ongoing environmental and economic development initiatives directly to workforce training programs that provide specific job opportunities and pathways out of poverty for local residents. Your city may already be forging ahead on climate protection and sustainability strategies—like using biofuels in municipal fleets or offering incentives for private sector green building projects—but may not have connected these initiatives to any workforce development or job training programs.

Coordinating Green-Collar Job Training Initiatives

Green-collar job training initiatives should be developed in concert with existing workforce and economic development strategies, not as stand-alone, boutique programs.

Green-collar job workforce efforts should be linked, whenever possible, to existing policies, programs and investments aimed at growing the green economy and combating climate change.

Green-collar job training programs should provide entry points for a range of workers: from those who have been laid off; to underemployed workers struggling to make ends meet in dead-end, minimum-wage jobs; to unemployed men and women trying to get onto some kind of career track; to disconnected young people looking for a point of entry into the mainstream economy. Each of these future workers needs a different kind of support to get started on a career pathway in the green economy. Some need transitional financial aid while training to learn new skills. Others require help learning “soft skills” such as resumebuilding and interview techniques. A number will benefit from short-term job placements in agencies or industries participating in green-collar job training partnerships. Still others need targeted, comprehensive support to prepare them to succeed in a conventional skills training program.

Oakland Green Jobs Corps Program

The Ella Baker Center and the Oakland Apollo Alliance have been champions of the program, but they will not run or house the Oakland Green Jobs Corps program. The $250,000 seed funding from the City will be awarded competitively through an RFP (Request for Proposals), thus identifying the best qualified people in Oakland to run the program. Ideally, this will result in a partnership of organizations that includes a job training program, a community college, employers, labor unions, and other institutions that together can provide the complete Oakland Green Jobs Corps curriculum and pathway.

For more information, see: www.ellabakercenter.org/gcjc



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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