Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Green Jobs Truth

"'A job training program that's not linked up to specific industries with documented demand for labor 'never works,'says Dan Kammen, director of the University of California-Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory...But if you have a federal mandate for clean energy,and you have job training in association with industry, there is a big success route...' But in the US where industrial job training policy is haphazard?"

David Roberts,"The Truth About Green Jobs," Mother Jones, November/December, 2008

So much insight in so few words. Link job training to industry and demand; leverage federal mandate for clean energy for job training. US job training is a mess. I was beginning to think that environmentalists and green jobs advocates were reenacting the old, failed scenario of first the job training program and then the jobs. Doesn't work that way. Of course, green stuff does provide a good venue for public or transitional jobs.

We need a whole bunch of workforce intermediaries or partnerships (See my: Workforce Intermediaries for the 21st Century) on the ground in regional economies that bring together industry, community colleges, labor, and other key actors. Building these partnerships requires capital and some industry-specific "community organizing." The new National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) offers one mechanism to build these partnerships in conjunction with local, regional, and national philanthropy. It's purpose is to align funding streams around partnerships that meet the needs of industry and workers.

But these partnerships need the demand-side kicker for clean energy at all levels to stimulate the job creation. Timing is critical and we often get this wrong in the world of job training.

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