Incorporating environmental considerations into economic development activities is becoming increasingly widespread contributing to a major expansion of what is known as the green economy. With a long history of work in economic development, job training and environmental planning, regional councils are seeking ways to build their green economies, including training and placing workers in existing and emerging green occupations.
Green Jobs Policy Brief
Green jobs contribute significantly to the improvement of environmental quality, new job opportunities, and economic expansion. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes various investments in green technology and jobs. This includes more than $11 billion for investments in a new smart grid, investments that will create thousands of miles of new or modernized high-tech transmission lines, while training and employing highly-skilled and well-paid line workers. Additionally, states and communities across the country are increasingly investing in the Green Economy.
NARC Member Case Studies
- Green Jobs and Workforce Development – South Florida Regional Planning Commission (SFRPC), Hollywood, FL: The Institute for Community Collaboration launched the Legacy Green Empowerment Program with funding from Jobs for Low Income Individuals (JOLI), under the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, Administration for Families and Children, and the Office of Community Services. The program enrolled 32 low-income and unemployed individuals to learn horticulture under a Master Gardener. After 20 weeks of classroom training and on-the-job training, these residents were hired to work in the gardens that were developed during the training phase.
- Planning for the Green Economy – Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, Newport, RI: Aquidneck Island received an EPA grant to implement elements of their West Side Master Plan. EPA worked with three Aquidneck communities to review local ordinances and regulations and make recommendations on how to implement the plan. The result of a six-year planning process, the West Side Master Plan provides strategies future development of the West Side, including Green Job Growth. One of the strategies is to enhance social well-being by providing education and professional-development opportunities and a strong sense of community rooted in an appreciated of the island’s natural heritage. In addition, the plan will help maintain a strong local economy by providing a diversified economic base and promoting environmentally sensitive development.
- Recognizing Employer Contribution to the Green Economy – Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Oakland, CA: The Bay Area Green Business Program distinguishes small businesses that protect, preserve and sustain the environment. The partnership of local environmental agencies and utilities assists, offers incentives and verifies that participating businesses conserve energy and water, minimize waste, prevent pollution, and shrink their carbon footprints.
Green Jobs Resources
NARC, in partnership with ICF International, Monster Government Solutions, MWH Global and Colorado Energy Group, received a Pathways Out of Poverty grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to develop on-the-ground strategies in four regions to train and place workers in green jobs and career pathways. This American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded project aimed to support “programs that help disadvantaged populations find ways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.”
NARC, together with its national and regional partners, provided training, certification and nationally recognized credentials and apprenticeship programs to un- and underemployed individuals in four regions in Arizona, Texas and Ohio, to facilitate their transition into jobs in the weatherization and energy-efficient building sector; renewable energy (solar and wind); environmental remediation; and deconstruction and materials reuse industries. Through this project, the NARC team:
- Evaluated green job opportunities in demonstration regions;
- Recruited potential workers in target groups for training in the green economy;
- Established training programs in specific green trades in tandem with local community colleges that help workers secure portable green jobs credentials;
- Constructed green jobs web portals in each region – to facilitate communication between employees and potential employers; and
- Shared lessons from these demonstration efforts with regions across the country.
For information about the regional project partners, please see:
- Central Arizona Association of Governments (CAAG), Apache Junction, AZ
- Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), Dayton, OH and East End Community Services, Dayton, OH
- Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission (PBRPC), Midland, TX
- SouthEastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO), Bisbee, AZ
For more information about the project, please see www.narc.org/pathways.
U.S. Department of Labor
- Green Jobs Innovation Fund Grants: This is part of the Department’s vision for ensuring that workers have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to succeed in a knowledge-based economy that includes high growth and emerging green industries. The Fund will help workers receive job training in green industry sectors and occupations and access green career pathways.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): BLS received funding beginning in Fiscal Year 2010 to develop and implement the collection of new data on green jobs. The goal of the BLS green jobs initiative is to develop information on the number of and trend over time in green jobs; the industrial, occupational, and geographic distribution of the jobs; and the wages of the workers in these jobs.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Environmental Workforce Development Training: Annual Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants allow nonprofit and other organizations to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed people living in areas affected by solid and hazardous waste. Residents learn the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environment field, including assessment and cleanup.
- Region 4 Green Jobs Initiatives: Growing Responsible Environmental Employees Now (G.R.E.E.N.) is a free eight-hour “Sustainability 101” course useful for introducing basic green principles and ideas into almost any job training or education program.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Job Corps Curriculum: Partnering with Jobs Corps and with the North American Association for Environmental Education, Conservation Education led the development of a suite of high-quality curriculum materials and activities for use throughout the Job Corps network.
- Baltimore Civic Works’ Center For Green Careers: The EnergyReady program prepares people for green careers, which is showing employment growth. Their goal is to create pathways out of poverty and economic opportunities for people traditionally locked out of these opportunities.
- Veterans Green Jobs: This is a national nonprofit organization that engages, transitions and connects military opportunities that serve our communities and environment. They work to reverse the high unemployment trend among military veterans by linking them with training and employment opportunities in the green sector.
- Green For All: Green For All’s Business Engagement Strategies are designed to create, sustain, and expand green jobs in America. These strategies leverage the work of Green For All’s policy and field teams to empower stakeholders and mobilize capital so that their advocacy leads to real economic recovery and environmental restoration.