Tag Archives | Green Jobs

Sour Economy? Green Jobs!

The Dow Jones plunged yet again this week, amidst European economic turmoil and doubts that the American political system can get its act together in getting the unemployed back to work. All the while, the green energy movement sits idly by and thousands, perhaps millions of hours of labor involved in that process goes uncompleted.

The Great Depression was solved by the massive stimulus that was World War Two. In a world where we’re fortunate enough to avoid major warfare, we need a similar call to action. Updating the country to meet the energy efficiency requirements of tomorrow can be that call to action.   Continue Reading →

Wide Variation in Quality of Jobs in Climate-Friendly Sectors

As the federal government prepares to spend billions of dollars promoting the creation of green jobs as part of the huge economy recovery bill, a new report warns that the jobs already being created in climate-friendly sectors of the economy do not always measure up in terms of wages and other terms of employment. The report, entitled High Road or Low Road: Job Quality in the New Green Economy, was produced by Good Jobs First, a non-profit resource center on economic development accountability. It was commissioned by Change to Win, the Sierra Club, and the Teamsters and Laborers unions. It is online at: http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/pdf/gjfgreenjobsrpt.pdf.

“Many proponents of green development assume that the result will be good jobs,” said Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, principal author of the report. “We tested that assumption and found it is not always valid.” The report looks at three sectors: manufacturing of components for wind and solar energy generation; green building; and recycling. “In each sector, we found examples of employers that compensate their workers decently and treat them with respect. Yet we also found examples of purportedly green employers paying substandard wages and not treating their workers well,” Mattera added. “These include two wind energy manufacturing plants where workers initiated union organizing drives in response to issues such as poor safety conditions and then faced union-busting campaigns by management.” Some U.S. wind and solar manufacturing firms are weakening the job security of their workers, the report notes, by opening parallel plants in foreign low-wage havens such as China and Mexico. Continue Reading →

‘Green’ Workforce Study Predicts Hot Growth

Green Economy

And the winner is — California’s Central Valley region. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s December 2008 data, the region ranked the highest in unemployment in the state at 9.5% –the highest in over 13 years and double the unemployment rate a year ago. And the future doesn’t look much brighter with unemployment predictions at 17.5%, and an additional 36,000 layoffs expected in the next 12 months.

Where is the good news in all of these workforce woes? According to the recent environmental scan from the California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development Centers of Excellence’s (COE), it may very well lie in the future of the “green” economy and hot occupations that follow in its wake.

Center Director Michelle Marquez, Central Valley Region COE, acknowledges some of the promising trends for the Central Valley. “Over three-quarters (79%) of California’s Central Valley businesses in the fields of energy, building and design services, engineering and environmental services, as well as government and public administration, indicate that the green economy will be ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ in focusing the types of products and services that they will be involved with in the future,” said Michelle. “This translates to new occupations and jobs associated with these products and services.” Continue Reading →