Congratulations to our friends at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland! Yesterday, they launched the Oakland Green Jobs Corps after over two years of work for it.
Here is a letter from Ian Kim of the Ella Baker Center:
The long-awaited Oakland Green Jobs Corps was officially launched yesterday at a press conference in West Oakland. After more than two years of hard work by many, many people, we are proud to see this program take off!
Yesterday's launch was truly a shining moment for the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign and our movement as a whole. The event brought together the Oakland Green Jobs Corps partners with elected officials, employers, labor union leaders, community members, and, for the first time, students of the training program. Elected officials from all levels of government celebrated with us, including Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, City Councilmembers Nancy Nadel and Jane Brunner, state legislators Loni Hancock and Sandre Swanson, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, and Peralta Community College Chancellor and former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris.
THANK YOU to all of you who -- for the past two years -- have attended rallies, sent letters of support to City Councilmembers, volunteered your time and expertise, and believed in this exciting project! We also extend our gratitude to Mayor Dellums and Councilmember Nadel for their support, to Professor Raquel Pinderhughes for her guidance and expertise throughout, and to everyone involved in the Oakland Apollo Alliance.
Mayor Dellums opened this historic event by describing the Oakland Green Jobs Corps as a "very elegant idea -- elegant in its simplicity, to fight pollution and fight poverty simultaneously." Assemblywoman (and State Senator-elect) Loni Hancock and Assembly Labor Committee Chairman Sandre Swanson both spoke passionately about the Oakland Green Jobs Corps serving as a model for the country. Barry Luboviski, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda County Building Trades Council, said, "This is really our future. The construction industry relies on and will need literally thousands of workers going into the next 20-30 years of construction." Congresswoman Barbara Lee vowed to push through Congress a bill to expand the Green Jobs Corps nationwide, saying, "We want the federal government to buy into what is happening in Oakland."
A giant $250,000 check from the City of Oakland was then symbolically presented to the three organizations that were selected to run the Oakland Green Jobs Corps in partnership: Cypress Mandela Training Center, Laney College, and Growth Sector.
We concluded the launch event with a hands-on solar installation demonstration, featuring Oakland Green Jobs Corps trainees working on a mock house built inside the Cypress Mandela facility. With solar panels, an inverter and screwdrivers in hand, trainees enthusiastically showcased the skills they are learning as the inaugural class of the Oakland Green Jobs Corps.
The future of Oakland and our country lays in the hands and tool belts of people like the Oakland Green Jobs Corps trainees, who are learning what it takes to create a sustainable infrastructure for a just and healthy planet. Yesterday, we all took a giant step forward in our fight against poverty and pollution.
Green jobs, not jails,
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
And check out this video of Green Jobs Corps member Olivia Caldwell at the Green Jobs Now event in Oakland: