Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Same Old?

"Investing in public housing will improve its quality, reduce energy costs for residents and the government and create jobs for people who live in the units and their neighbors, Donovan said."

Dan Elliot,"Govt announces money for green jobs and training," The Washington Post, May 26, 2009.

Give me a break. How many announcements have we heard over the decades about jobs programs (or requirements like Section 3) in public housing projects that actually delivered on the jobs -- and career opportunities? Here we go again. Will HUD put in tough hiring requirements? Will these jobs be designed as entry ramps to preapprenticships?

The Obama administration might have sequenced things a bit differently. First invest in the economic development of green stuff -- policies, regulations, incentives.Nudge the job creation. At the same time, require and support regional partnerships that bring together employers, unions, community colleges, community-based organizations, contractors to design green construction pathways with lots of different starting points and career options.Then set some targets and policies for balancing new and displaced workers at various points in the career map. Then, only then, roll out the big training dollars that are connected, in general, to real jobs and careers.

Okay, we all live in the real world. And we should be happy there are resources that weren't there a year ago. How about holding off on more announcements that feed unrealistic expectations and bringing relevant federal agencies together to develop a plan for how to build a green industry and for coordinated action.

We all want a big green success. Unfortunately, we might get a big green let down if we're not careful

1 comment:

brn said...

Great post--thanks, Bob.