Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Administration Announces $500 Million For Green Jobs Education, Training, And Job Placement Assistance

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced plans to invest $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. The money will be used to train workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. $50 million worth of grants will be directed towards communities that have been impacts by the recent restructuring of the auto industry.

The announcement came at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force in Denver and was accompanied by information about a new partnership between the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education. The new partnership will bolster the government’s efforts to provide students, the unemployed, and disadvantaged workers with the education, training, and job placement assistance they will need to compete for jobs in the nation’s growing green economy.

"Over the past three months, members of the Task Force and their staffs have come together to work on ways in which we can leverage programs at different agencies to ensure that green jobs are accessible to middle-class workers, as well as lower-income workers trying to gain a foothold into the middle class," Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying.

Biden also called upon the Council for Environment Quality to prepare a report on proposals that will prepare the way for future investments in the green economy. The proposals are expected to include programs designed to make commercial and residential buildings more energy efficient and develop new tools that will help Americans find green jobs. The administration hopes to revolving-loans and other forms of private financing to continue making investments in the green economy once funding from the stimulus package has been distributed.

The administration has already made great strides in using stimulus money to create jobs improving the energy efficiency of American homes by boosting in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program from $250 million in 2008 to $5 billion, according to one White House official.

“That translates to jobs for professionally trained crews using computerized energy audits and advanced equipment to determine the most cost-effective measures,” according to Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environment Quality. “To meet this demand for workers, there will have to be a huge ramp-up in training workers. That's why the Recovery Act also includes $500 million for green job training through the Department of Labor.”


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