With traditional manufacturing jobs evaporating, green is becoming the color du jour around the necks of American workers.
Every candidate promised the creation of green collar jobs in last year's election, and, promising to spend $150 billion over 10 years to create five million of them, President Obama is moving forward with growing the sector.
The first step was the stimulus bill. Aside from pledging $1 billion to manufacture advanced batteries, the plan also calls for $500 million to be invested in “research, labor exchange, and job training projects preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.” In an abyssmal job market, this has inspired jobless Americans to consider green jobs in their employment searches.
The effects of the green collar job training initiatives are already being seen. Stimulus funding has contributed to the opening of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers which hire a variety of researchers and academics to address issues ranging from solar energy to biofuels. In Newark, a public-private initiative has begun training workers in green construction skills like weatherization of low-income housing, and in New York the Long Island Green Homes Initiative is contributing capital to hire local labor to retrofit 65,000 homes. It has raised $2 million in initial funding through its solid waste management fund.
Van Jones, Obama confidant and president of Green for All, the nation's largest green jobs recruitment and employment prorgram, says green collar jobs are skilled labor delivered not by PhD.'s but "PhDo's." >