PITTSBURGH – The Center for American Progress, along with the Apollo Alliance, Green For All, and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, released a first-of-its-kind guide outlining how cities can leverage local environmental, economic development, and workforce development programs to grow the “green-collar jobs” of the future.
The new guide, “Green-Collar Jobs in America’s Cities,” was made public at the start of the two-day national Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Pittsburgh convened by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club (the “BlueGreen Alliance”) in partnership with the Center for American Progress and other groups. The report explains how pursuing a four-step strategy to build a metropolitan green workforce and local businesses can create a wealth of environmental, economic, and social benefits for cities, including “ pathways out of poverty” for thousands of unemployed and under-employed people in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, stressed the importance of green-collar jobs to the growing debate on climate change. “Solving global warming will mean many billions of dollars of new public and private investment in rebuilding our cities for energy efficiency, retooling our economy with advanced technology, and new investments in low carbon energy and state of the art infrastructure,” said Hendricks. “If we are smart about it, building a green economy will mean new economic development, greater prosperity, and more opportunity for those who need good jobs most. Green-collar jobs are a real opportunity to build more vibrant communities and lift up living standards at the same time.”
The new report builds upon the Center for American Progress’ rich body of work on green cities and green jobs. CAP was instrumental in helping Washington, D.C. launch its nascent green jobs program. Working with both Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the City Council, CAP assisted D.C. with developing the capacity of local businesses and workers to capitalize on opportunities created by, amongst others, the new Green Building Law and storm-water management and green urban infrastructure policies. CAP is also a partner in an effort to revitalize the city of Newark using green economic development, and has advised the City of Los Angeles on how to best capture its ample solar energy resources.
All across America, cities and metropolitan regions are showing how the movement toward sustainability, efficiency, and livability is creating the greatest new engine for urban economic growth, innovation, and job creation in decades. Meanwhile, training and employing previously marginalized people for the higher wage, family-supporting careers in the new clean, green, energy efficient job sectors is a critical component of restoring America’s shared prosperity. “Green-Collar Jobs in America’s Cities” is an excellent road map for how to accomplish these goals, and the “Good Jobs Green Jobs” conference, which CAP has helped to convene, will prove to be a landmark gathering of experts in the field of building a green economy.