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economic stimulus package called the 2008 bestselling book, The Green
Private Sector Progress
“American Recovery and Reinvestment Collar Economy: How One Solution
Plan,” which President Obama signed Can Solve Our Two Biggest Problems.
In its State of Green Business 2009,
into law in February 2009, and with the “There are vocational training centers,
Greener World Media asks the tough
business expansion and job creation return-from-prison work centers and
questions that must be addressed. Are
that legislation promises. By directing community colleges. But none of that
we moving far enough, fast enough?
federal money to infrastructure building infrastructure is pointed at the green
Do current initiatives represent true
and clean energy, President Obama’s economy.” He’s out to change that.
transformation? Or, are we just nibbling
administration has pledged to use the The stimulus package responds by
at the edges of national and global
Joel Makower, chairman and ex-
The goal of the legislation is the creation ecutive editor of Greener World Media
and the editors of its fl agship GreenBiz.
of 3.5 million new jobs, some of which
com, see optimistic signs that the shift
to a green economy is real. For exam-
will directly contribute to the country’s
ple, green building is on the rise, spur-
ring new technologies that save energy
renewable energy future.
and money, while creating more health-
ful workplaces. The automobile industry
seems fi nally engaged in a green race
to introduce electric vehicles.
$787 billion authorized in the bill to re- including language from the Green Jobs
Leading makers and retailers of con-
build the American economy and with Act of 2007, part of that year’s larger
sumer products are starting to more
it, the struggling middle class. Energy Savings Act. It includes $100
rigorously assess the environmental
The ambitious goal of that leg- million for worker
impacts of their products and signaling
islation is the creation of 3.5 million training in upgrading the nation’s elec-
suppliers that tomorrow’s goods must
new jobs, some of which will directly trical grid, and up to $500 million for
hew to higher levels of environmental
contribute to the country’s renew- renewable energy and electric power
able energy future. The idea is that the transmission projects, with provisions
Building on the possibility offered
stimulus package can solve two prob- that all laborers and mechanics are
by such public and private investment,
lems simultaneously: getting Americans paid fair wages. Another $750 million
along with the promise of a true, “green
the dependable, well-paying work that is designated for competitive grants for
collar,” workforce, government of-
will allow them to support their families “worker training and placement in high
fi cials joined with thousands of labor,
and stay in their homes; and redirecting growth and emerging energy sectors.”
environmental and business advocates
the U.S. energy picture away from dirty, Some $250 million is directed toward
in Washington, D.C., February 4 to 6,
polluting fossil fuels like oil and coal building Job Corps Centers around the
for the Good Jobs Green Jobs National
and into clean, renewable energies like country, which the legislation notes
Conference and public expo, dedicated
wind and solar. “may include training for careers in the
to exploring emerging green-oriented
“This is a green and bold stimulus energy effi ciency, renewable energy
career paths. It was sponsored by the
package that will help our economy and environmental protection indus-
Blue Green Alliance, an unprecedented
and protect our environment,” said tries.”
national partnership formed in 2006
Representative Edward J. Markey, who On a larger scale, $16.8 billion of
between the Sierra Club and the United
chairs key energy and global warming the federal package
Steelworkers Union.
panels in the House. is directed toward energy effi ciency and
Kevin Doyle, president of green
By adding critical job training skills renewable
consulting and training company Green
to reach those in greatest need—inner- energy research and projects that in-
Economy, advises that the government’s
city kids, former inmates and welfare clude: advanced
initial investment is only meant to be a
recipients among them—Van Jones, batteries to power plug-in, hybrid ve-
launch pad. “The federal government
founder and president of Green For All, hicles; geothermal
serves best as an innovative leader,”
believes the federal economic stimu- and biomass projects; wind and solar
he counsels. “Money from the private
lus effort can go even further—to fi ght installations; building weatherization;
sector should be at least fi ve times that
poverty and pollution, simultaneously. modernizing the electrical grid; and
His nonprofi t advocacy organization is environmental cleanup.
dedicated to building an all-inclusive, A February 2009 report by Good
green economy. Jobs First, a smart growth advocacy
Green on Top
“There’s this whole invisible infra- group, cautions that, in the rush to cre- “CEOs and senior level executives
structure, trying to get people who need ate a quantity of jobs, it’s crucial that across a broad spectrum are entering
jobs connected with work,” says Jones, we pay suffi cient attention to the qual- the environmental fi eld in droves,”
who also authored The New York Times ity of those jobs. says Rona Fried, founder and president
24 Oakland, Macomb, Livingston & St. Clair, MI
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