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Green For All/green jobs featured in VP Biden's Task Force for Middle Class

Posted by Ada McMahon at Mar 02, 2009 02:45 PM |

On Friday, February 27th, Vice President Joe Biden convened the first meeting of the White House Task Force for Middle Class Working Families.  And the theme of the meeting: Green Jobs!

Green For All was honored to take a prominent role in the convening. President and Founder Van Jones spoke and answered questions, and this video we made kicked off the event.

After you watch the video, read what Van Jones and Chris Chafe (Executive Director of Change to Win) wrote about the event.


A green American dream for working families

Crossposted from Anderson Cooper 360.

Chris Chafe
Executive Director, Change to Win
Van Jones
Founder and President, Green For All

Last Friday, Vice President Joe Biden held the first meeting of his new White House Task Force for Middle Class Working Families. The theme? “Green jobs as a pathway to a strong middle class.”

This is a huge step forward for the country, for the green jobs movement, and for working families. The U.S. economy once abounded with opportunities for careers that would support a family, provide health care, put kids through college, even allow people to take a hard-earned vacation with their loved ones. Those opportunities, and the American Dream that propelled generations to new progress, remain too far out of reach for too many Americans. The best place to recreate them is in the growing green jobs sector.

Green jobs are America’s best investment opportunity for the public and private sector. By investing wisely and creating the right policies, we can create new wealth while fighting poverty and pollution at the same time. We are already seeing this happening across the country. Newark, NJ is pioneering a public-private partnership to create union jobs making homes more energy-efficient — and making sure residents who most need the work have access to those jobs. Community colleges and training institutions — like the East Los Angeles Skills Center — are teaching the next generation of green technicians. State subsidies have convinced Gamesa to locate its new factory for constructing wind turbine blades in Pennsylvania; the wind-energy giant expects to create up to 1,000 new, good, green jobs in the Keystone State.

The potential of the emerging green economy is enormous. What we need is smart, supportive federal investment to help that potential become a reality for all Americans. And President Obama’s administration gets it. That’s the biggest signal we should take from the fact that Vice President Biden is focusing the first meeting of his Middle Class Task Force on green jobs.

But there’s another signal we should absolutely NOT take from the meeting. We should not take it as a signal that we have arrived, that our message has gotten through, that the hard part is over. No, this meeting is a sign that we are finally beginning.

The administration sees the promise of green jobs because a vibrant, beautiful movement has been singing about that promise at the top of its voice. That movement includes labor, students, business leaders, social justice activists, environmentalists, intellectuals and more. It wants an inclusive green economy, strong enough to solve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty.

Creating a pathway to a green American Dream requires a new practice of partnership between government, entrepreneurs, investors, environmentalists, junior colleges and community organizations, and unions. These emerging green sectors offer our first chance in more than a generation to build a new economic model founded on sustainable development and equity for all. Smart policies can drive public and private investment into sectors like weatherization and take those new markets to scale. Community and neighborhood residents can be recruited by local organizations and welcomed into union and community college training programs, so that when they emerge they have a real job market to enter, creating value in their own homes and communities while being paid a living wage in the private or public sector. That is how we’ll save our planet and rebuild our middle class.

We need that partnership and that movement now more than ever. Working families need it. The planet needs it. And President Obama needs it. A strong, popular, independent movement for quality green jobs is the only thing that will shine a light for the administration and show it the path it is looking for — and the pitfalls it must avoid. We’ve traveled that path to end slavery and segregation, to create voting rights for all, to build a middle class from the industrial sweatshop, and we’re still walking together to build the right to unionize and create equal pay for all.

President Obama and the country need us to show the way to a green future. We must not let them down.

Document Actions

Is there a measure of success?

Posted by Stanley Sneed at Mar 02, 2009 09:09 PM
Mr. Jones, I listen to you on the State of the Black America and the Vice-President's forum on green. I am retired now, but still engaged in community activities. As a community service work most of my career, I saw a number of great community programs fail because they did not have a measure of their success.

It would be great if you had a graph that shows a starting point, for instant, the amount of fuel or electricity used now vs the end of a particular program. Not only will this give the public a visual que, but might help facilitate greater participation.

Keep up the good work and if you get a chance, come on down to the Virgin Islands. They could use a lot of motivation on this issue. An island that is still using U. S. Navy technology (the Navy administer this islands when it was purchase) to generate power needs a lot of help.

give the public a visual que

Posted by Robert Valenti at Mar 02, 2009 10:03 PM
Stanley, there are many websites, companies and orgs that publish this data. Savings can range from 20% to 50% or more depending on the extent that a building is retrofitted, and it's former condition. In the case of new construction, construction costs can even be less while cutting energy use in half. Try looking at the US dept of Energy website for a start. There is a lot of information there.

Task Force for Middle Class Working Families - Green Jobs

Posted by Robert Valenti, Robert Valenti Design Build at Mar 02, 2009 09:54 PM
I watched the coverage on CSPAN. It was nice to see people talking about these issues and developing solutions. As Van mentioned, proper training is critical. The people that train workers and others, and those doing the work should have an understanding of building sceince, thermal comfort, health and safety concerns, cost/benefit, building site and solar issues, and an understanding of some basic laws of thermodynamics, water and material properties. They should also understand sustainability in a broader sense.

It really is necesary to do a good job when retrofitting, or building new. If you don't get it right, you can waste money and resources, or create an unhealthy environment.

Fortunately there is a lot of good information and training out there already. You just need to put it all together into a coherent package that people can understand. The concepts actually are beautifully simple, even though they can sometimes be quite technical.

LEED Programs

Posted by Bertram Lewars at Mar 02, 2009 09:55 PM
I was very impressed with Van Jones' presentation at Tavis Smiley's State of the Union Conference this past week-end. I am an architect in South Florida who is looking into becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmenal Design) certified. Can someone share information on how to access federal funds to put this information to use for some of the low and middle income families? Thank you.

Training programs

Posted by Janna Besh at Mar 03, 2009 06:24 AM
Solano Green Alliance has a training program available beginning 3/1/09 and you can access financial aid as well for these courses, we can help you with that as well. If you contact us we can get you started, these are on-line courses. Write us at

Inner-City Green; Denver

Posted by Rev. Dr. Ambrose F. Carroll at Mar 04, 2009 11:18 AM
Bro. Jones I just finished your book, The Green collar Economy, and let me say that I am inspired! Our problems and challenges have been so vast and overwhelming as a nation that for the past 10 years or so I have been trying to articulate the single cause that would bring us all together. The fact is that our struggles have always been many, however other generations have pin pointed issues that movements are made of. I am excited because in your work I found that articulation, I found what is that central unbrella issue, that tent or that banner that so many can find room in to do good works. At any rate I am from the Bay Area and worked as Youth Pastor at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, I served as the Vice President of the NAACP working with Amos Brown, chaplain at the Institute for health and healing (California Pacific Medical Center) and as the Chaplain for the SF Sheriff's department. I have been in Denver for the past year serving as the Senior Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church which is the largest African American Church inf the City. I am interested in this work and wonder what organizations in Denver that you may know of that are already pushing in this direction that we could possibly yoke up with?

Keep up the good work and until we meet I am

Your Brother by THE WAY

Ambrose F. Carroll