VP introduces new initiatives at Green Economy meeting

Authors: jj On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden chaired a Middle Class Task Force meeting on the green economy. Sound familiar? That’s because Biden’s Task Force held a meeting on green jobs back in February – and >Green For All was there. Tuesday’s meeting, called "Building a Strong Middle Class through a Green Economy," focused on concrete steps to build on the Recovery Act and create green-collar jobs to strengthen the middle class. Vice President Biden gave the White House Council on Environmental Quality 90 days to come up with proposals “to expand green opportunities and energy savings for the middle class.” "People ask me all the time - how can we expand opportunities for green jobs? How does a green economy help middle class families?" said Vice President Biden. "That's why today I am asking the Council on Environmental Quality to report back to the Task Force in 90 days with proposals that expand those opportunities, and boost energy savings for the middle class." New Partnerships At the meeting, new agency partnerships were forged to help get green jobs to those who need them most. The White House announced that Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan will be building a bridge between their agencies to find new ways to secure job training and green jobs for people who live in HUD housing. $500 million will be available as grants for job training, and Solis's Labor Department will accept grant proposals for this money beginning next month. Similarly, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will be collaborating to "provide transitions for adults between employment and for students from high school to postsecondary education and into careers," according to the White House website. "It was clear at our first meeting in Philadelphia that partnerships – on the federal, state and local level – are critical to creating green opportunity for middle class Americans. This insight was an instructive one for our task force and we’ve been hard at work turning this advice into action," said Vice President Biden. "Over the past three months, members of the Task Force and their staffs have come together to work on ways in which we can leverage programs at different agencies to ensure that green jobs are accessible to middle-class workers, as well as lower-income workers trying to gain a foothold into the middle class." Other highlights from the meeting:
  • After the 90 day period, the White House Council on Environmental Quality is expected to propose green jobs in retrofitting to benefit the middle class and increase the energy efficiency of homes and buildings. In a statement on the behalf of the Council, Van Jones, the White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, said retrofitting would "create more work, more wealth" and "better health" for middle class communities. Energy-efficiency creates jobs, lowers energy bills, and lessens carbon pollution.
  • The Council is also expected to propose new methods to help Americans find green jobs.
"Over the next 90 days, we will review proposals that build on the foundation laid in ARRA to expand green opportunity and energy savings for the middle class," Jones said. "We at CEQ are happy to accept the challenge!" J.J. Barrow is the Online Communications Intern at Green For All.

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