All the Democratic presidential candidates talked about “green-collar jobs.” But what are they? “Green collar jobs are blue collar jobs in green businesses,” according to urban studies professor Raquel Rivera Pinderhughes in a recent report. A green-collar economy will provide high-quality jobs, requiring basic skills, paying a living wage, with room for advancement, to a broad array of low-income or unskilled workers. The main problem, according to the report, is matching green businesses with job-ready workers.
Part of the solution, says Van Jones, environmental leader and president of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California, was the passage by Congress of the Green Jobs Act of 2007 in August, which authorized $125 million “to create a new training program for energy efficiency and renewable energy workers … for market research, job referral, and job training,” according to the Congressional Budget Office report. Jones hopes that job-training programs will begin incorporating “green pathways out of poverty.” He is advocating that Congress fund $1 billion in green jobs training and is calling for the creation of 3 million clean-tech jobs by 2015.