Sunday, February 8, 2009

DC Green Jobs

"In the old days the enviros were told that they hurt the economy. Today, we're building the economy."

Paraphased, George Hawley, Director, Department of Environment, Washington DC, Green Jobs Conference, February 4, 2009.

Later he said (again paraphased), "With green jobs you can start by collecting trash and then move up into more skilled jobs." One wonders how many old-fashioned garbagemen have moved up the ladder in DC if it's so easy.

When George got to real examples of green jobs all he offered was DC's summer jobs program (with a green name). Government jobs are a strange way to talk about the promise of green jobs, especially the DC summer jobs program that suffered dramatic cost overruns last year.

So, it's terrific that environmental leaders are talking about economic development and job creation. There really is a win/win/win in all of this. DC is to be commended for the depth and breadth of their commitments to greening the city. What they could use is some help in sketching out the plausible job implications of this greening. One thing we have learned is that new job opportunities won't automatically become connected to those most in need of good jobs and careers.

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