"Greening the ghetto"

Good news out of the White House today.

No, not that news, this news.

From Associated Press:

Some of the $4 billion from President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan that was budgeted to renovate public housing will be spent to create so-called "green jobs" by making the dwellings more energy efficient.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was making the announcement Tuesday in Denver at a meeting of Obama's Middle Class Task Force.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, another task force member, also will announce that $500 million from the stimulus is becoming available to train workers for these jobs. That sum includes $50 million for communities battered by job losses and restructuring in the auto industry...

...Donovan said Monday that the investment in public housing will help meet several goals: improving the quality of public housing, reducing energy costs for residents and the government, and creating jobs for people who live in the units and in the surrounding community...

Van Jones' thoughts on this...

From New York Times:

E&E: You've advocated "greening the ghetto" in the past; how much of the $787 billion economic stimulus will go toward greening inner cities, and where will the money go?

Jones: HUD has somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion to do energy-efficiency retrofits and weatherization. I know [HUD] Secretary [Shaun] Donovan is going to be passionate about getting that money spent well. But I'm not in a position now to comment on all of the details, the particulars of how the various agencies are planning to spend the money.

E&E: A Rutgers University report published today suggests that most green job openings will not be new occupations, but rather traditional occupations with a new layer of "green" skills and credentials. For example, laborers and building contractors who need specialized training and certification to perform home weatherization audits. Do you agree?

Jones: Yes. That's one of the exciting things about this. Sometimes people think we're talking about some exotic occupation from Mars that nobody's ever heard of. That we're talking about George Jetson or Buck Rogers when we're thinking about green jobs. We're not talking about solar ray-guns; we're talking about caulking guns as one of the major tools we're going to need to be smarter with energy. Those are jobs our existing work force, with a little training, can start doing right away.

E&E: Going forward, what role should the private sector play with regard to creating and keeping green-collar jobs?

Jones: The president has made very clear that he wants the majority of these jobs to be private-sector jobs. I think that's appropriate. Entrepreneurship, innovation and the free market will solve a lot of these problems. We just have to get the rules right and get the supports in place so our new industries can take off.

That's what up!



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