Van Jones As Green Jobs Czar

Brentin Mock at The American Prospect reports on the nomination of West Coast green jobs and urban revitalization advocate Van Jones to the White House position of Green Jobs Czar.  Van Jones is the founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Green For All.  He is author of the New York Times Bestseller The Green Collar Economy.

Though Mock argues that Jones will face many hurdles, he also points out that the Oakland-based leader has long made the important connection between creating a green economy and developing opportunity for impoverished communities:

Championing relief for the vulnerable has been Jones' modus operandi all along. And while he fought for that cause mostly at the local level from 1996 until the founding of his national nonprofit Green for All in 2007, he's made plenty of important national connections along the way. One of his more notable is with the Apollo Alliance, formed after September 11, which brings together some of the best minds and most iron-fisted leadership from the sectors of labor, environmentalism, and government. So while Jones has no significant experience working inside government (and some wonder if he'd effect change stronger from the outside) his Apollo connections with, for one, Kathleen McGinty, former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, let’s hope, have supplied him with wisdom on surviving Capitol Hill.

But Jones doesn't want to just survive, he wants to be the solution. What will make his task even harder is the expansion of the unemployed population to the tune of five million turned jobless in the last year and 12.5 million without work overall. Minority unemployment rates, meanwhile, have hit historic highs: the unemployment rate for black men is a hair shy of 15 percent, while the Hispanic unemployment rate overall is 10.9 percent. Jones' advocacy has always been about providing jobs for minorities as priority No. 1. But can Jones make the case that investing in America's neglected will solve the country's economic crisis?

It will indeed be a great challenge that faces Van Jones coming into this position.  But as has been noted, equal opportunity is crucial to the success of the economic recovery.  Without ensuring that opportunity is expanded for all, federal efforts at establishing a green economy will undoubtedly fall short of its potential to remake the American economic and environmental landscape.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda's blog.

Tags: Economy, green jobs, jobs, Opportunity, Van Jones (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Manufacturing in China

Is there any reason these new manufacturing (I'm assuming thats what they mean) jobs need to be here and are not created elsewhere?

The way I see this playing out is people naively seeing this ideal "green jobs" as some kind of panacea that is based on a false hope that somehow the economics would be different than they are with other light manufacturing jobs in this economy.

Its been my observation when I lived in areas where these kinds of jobs are semi common that when you are working in a sort of "green" business the pay is actually lower than it would be in another similar non-green business that required a similar skill level. College students love jobs like that, and are often working them, but the pay is low. (Like work in health food stores, etc.)

Also, the push to manufacture where labor is cheaper is always there, and nobody has deincentivized the reasons for it or incentivized any reasons to hire here (except the obvious sentimental, feel good  reasons)

by architek 2009-03-18 08:38PM | 0 recs
We need to de-incentivize the overseas aspect of

manufacturing somehow. Or make it much cheaper to manufacture here.

The best way to do that is universal healthcare. The very worst thing we can do is force businesses to insure workers, because that will accelerate the shedding of workers and their replacement by technology - which is happening anyway, very rapidly.

If we create incentives for new industries, I guess we have to accept that the jobs that may be created may be somewhere else. India, China, Eastern Europe?

I suppose it depends where the engineers and scientists are available for employment.

Americans often place themselves above such work.

Not "cool" enough?

by architek 2009-03-19 03:48AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads