Moving Forward

September 30, 2009 -- Leslie Moody

The emerging green energy economy offers great promise for rebuilding America’s middle class. Across the Partnership, we are working to ensure that federal, state, and city funds support a new green economy that grows the next generation of construction trades workers with access to family-supporting jobs, and opens career opportunities for low-income communities and communities of color.

Across the country, our Partners are fighting for this goal in ways that support their unique communities:

  • FRESC is partnering with the Sierra Club and the Laborers to capture the opportunities promised by weatherization jobs, ensuring that they are good-paying jobs that offer productive career paths for women and people of color.
  • WPUSA’s county-wide Green Careers Initiative is instituting a workforce development model that opens careers in the building trades to members of disadvantaged communities, and links those high-quality jobs to publicly supported green building projects.
  • As part of the Massachusetts Green Justice Coalition, CLU has organized to push the state’s energy advisory council to include equity and career-path provisions in state utility plans.
  • The success of the weatherization pilot program launched by GANE and Laborers Local 55 has led to a strong statewide policy that ensures weatherization jobs will pay living wages and benefits, and opens pathways to quality construction careers.
  • EBASE and LAANE are taking their local fights for good jobs and clean and safe ports to the federal level, urging the creation of laws that give ports the tools they need to enact meaningful environmental and labor standards.

The Partnership is engaging with the Department of Labor and other federal policy makers who want to create national standards for how federal green economy money is spent and the types of training and career opportunities created. The U.S. House of Representatives included our construction careers proposal in the climate change legislation it passed, in the form of a demonstration project that could potentially cover thousands of federally funded construction jobs.  Ben Beach and others from our working group met with Department of Labor staffers to talk about implementing the program and how it might look in the final climate change legislation.  Ben provided essential technical expertise regarding operation of construction careers programs, and pointed to the strength and effectiveness of our Partner groups’ powerful local examples. 

Stay tuned as our national staff, Partners, and allies around the country continue to work with the Administration and congressional committees to educate them on construction careers and implementation as the climate bill process proceeds.

Solidarity!

Leslie Moody, Partnership Executive Director

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