One thing you will continue to hear a lot about out of the Obama Administration is green jobs, fulfilling a vision that has been developed around the country for years – we asked Greg Nelson of the Office of Public Liaison to give us an overview of what’s going on right now.
One of the centerpieces of President Obama's agenda has been fulfilling the promise of green jobs -- creating opportunities for the broadest range of Americans to participate in creating a new energy economy, while building a career that will support healthy families and communities. As the member of the Public Liaison team charged with reaching out to the environmental community, I’ve seen the level of excitement over this as something that used to seem like a fantasy becomes a top national priority. And as green jobs visionary Van Jones said at a conference this weekend, the green jobs element of the recovery package is also one of the most fiscally responsible in terms of bang for the buck: "Every dollar spent on green jobs is going to be out there working double-time, triple-time."
It is shaping up to be a great week for making that promise a reality for even more Americans. Representative Hilda Solis, one of the earliest champions for the power of green jobs -- and the architect and sponsor of the Green Jobs Act -- was confirmed by the Senate yesterday with a strong 80-17 to be our next Secretary of the Department of Labor. She's been a remarkable advocate for developing green jobs by building an economy we can all be proud of, and her voice and vision will be a powerful addition -- the Sierra Club said they were "overjoyed" by the confirmation.
At the President's address last night, he discussed how important it is to change the way we create, transport, and use energy. Watching and cheering as a guest of the First Lady was Blake Jones, the CEO of Namaste Solar in Boulder, CO. Blake isn't a green jobs advocate as such, but he and Namaste are at the front lines, creating jobs and opportunity. Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Blake and Namaste will be hiring in 2009 instead of laying people off.
On Friday, Vice President Biden and a half dozen members of the Cabinet head to Philadelphia for the first meeting of the Middle Class Task Force. The topic? Green jobs, and looking at some of the innovative programs in Philly and PA that are bringing together universities, labor, the community, and sustainable businesses. The task force will produce a report that we'll share broadly and hope will contribute to this momentum.
And finally, don't forget to check out the Powershift conference this weekend in DC. 10,000 youth organizers talking about climate and green jobs.
It is a good week for green jobs.