Van Jones testifies in Congress for ‘green collar’ jobs

 In Leadership, Social Justice

solar rooftop

On May 22, 2007 Van Jones, President and Founder of the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center, testified in Washington D.C. at a special hearing called, “Economic Impacts of Global Warming: Green Collar Jobs.” He was there to push Congress to make “clean energy jobs” and “green-collar job training” for urban youth and low income communities a top priority.

He reported back on his trip to Washington in the Ella Baker Center blog, Grist Magazine, and the Huffington Post.

Jones defines a “green collar” job as a “vocational job in an ecologically responsible trade.” With the increasing demand for alternative energy sources such as solar panels, waste reduction, materials re-use and recycling, and sustainable agriculture, skills in these trades will give unprecedented opportunities to low income communities – if training programs are designed and delivered effectively.

At the hearing, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (CA-32), a Member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered a statement called, “Green Jobs Will Create Pathways Out of Poverty.” Congresswoman Solis is currently building support for federal funding of “green collar job training” programs, which would help give low income communities access to the skills they will need to compete in the new green economy.

According to Jones, The Ella Baker Center initially introduced the concept of green collar job training as a pathway out of poverty to Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year, which led to the beginnings of legislative language by Congresswoman Solis. The Center is expecting the proposal to be a part of the historic U.S. energy package, to be introduced on July Fourth (“Energy Independence Day“).

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