Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Jobs Train Wreck

"[T]he organization that is hiring today...will interview six hundred people at sessions like this. In the end, twenty will be hired to plant trees and shrubs, pull weeds, and clean up trash along local streams...But for Baltimore's more than 28,000 unemployed residents, that future [the green collar economy] still looks a long way off."

Greg Hanscom, "Waiting for the Green Collar Economy," Urbanite, April 2010.

We have to start somewhere, a few green jobs here,a few green jobs there. Maybe it will start mounting up. I have no doubt that local job totals are larger than many think, but way smaller than aspirations and the political rhetoric. The federal jobs projection machine has cranked out some numbers that seem unreal when looked at from the local level. But, things are bubbling.

My biggest worry is the the gulf between the numbers of people in green training versus the number of green jobs created or opened up. I bet that people in training is maybe double or more the number of jobs out there ready to be filled. That wouldn't be such a problem if the pipeline of new job creation was more robust and predictable. It isn't, although most agree more jobs are on the way.

Workforce development in the skills and education for low-income adults and young people already has a reputation problem. Once again, training is being put first before job creation--the wrong way to do things. A train wreck is coming.

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