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The green collar economy is set to get a boost from a new initiative in Oakland that will partner at-risk young adults with green businesses. On Monday the city of Oakland, with Mayor Ron Dellums, plans to officially launch the Green Collar Jobs Corps program, which, with the help of Foster City, Calif.-based solar installer startup SolarCity, will provide training and employment opportunities for program graduates. The corps was spearheaded by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights which was founded by Van Jones, enviro-social activist and author of The Green Collar Economy.
Van Jones was in San Francisco this week promoting his new book at the recently opened California Academy of Sciences. Jones regaled the audience, which included the Oakland Mayor and some local green entrepreneurs, with his oratory on the potential jobs in “weatherizing and solarizing” our homes (see the video below).
“Green collar jobs” have been touted heavily by Obama who promises 5 million new clean energy jobs with an investment of $150 billion over 10 years. We asked Jones what he thinks of Obama’s numbers and he said he prescribes to the Green Recovery program from the Center for American Progress, where Jones is a senior fellow, which proposed spending $100 billion over two years to create 2 million green jobs.
What the actual cost and time line is for the green collar economy is still unknown, but cleantech startups will need a solid base of well-trained installers and integrators to put up solar panels, construct wind turbines, build fuel-efficient cars and upgrade the electrical grid. While the VCs and entrepreneurs make the cleantech headlines, they will need Jones’s green collar workers to make headway.
And because it’s Friday, here’s Van Jones pitching his hopes for a green collar economy on The Colbert Report.