Authors: John Moore, Green For All Fellow, Class 2 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping grow the green economy in the greater New Orleans area. Last week, EPA Region Administrator Al Armendariz announced $487,500 in funding to support local organizations in providing job training and environmental education. This is a huge shot in the arm for a region that is struggling to take its stand amongst the national leaders in green job development. This grant funded, in part, a job training program associated an energy efficiency program called NOLA Wise. This program is a partnership created by the City of New Orleans, the Southeast Energy Alliance, Global Green, Green Coast Enterprises and the Department of Energy. When I worked for the City of New Orleans, I was able to create this program by leveraging several million dollars in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy. In addition to this program, I also invested additional dollars into energy efficient libraries and LED street lights. The NOLA WISE program will allow low-income home owners of New Orleans to weatherize their homes while helping to develop a strong green workforce. This program was recently given national attention when leaders from Green Coast Enterprises and Global Green were invited to the White House to present on their work. It was a pleasure to work with these groups to bolster the City's green job market and to significantly expand on energy efficiency efforts.
The grants announced on last Wednesday will create jobs in an economy where nationally the unemployment rate has continued to rise. Of the almost $500,000 investment in the city, the Louisiana Job Corps was granted $300,000 to train low-income residents for jobs in energy efficiency and green building; solar and/or solar thermal system installation; and materials reuse, deconstruction and recycling. The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) was also awarded $30,000 to provide local youth with training to monitor air quality in eastern New Orleans. The grants will tackle environmental education and job creation in a variety of communities, including New Orleans East, The Ninth Ward and industrial areas in southeast Louisiana, and work on a variety of environmental problems including air quality, energy efficiency, recycling and more. It is exciting to see green jobs expanding in a city that exists in a state that was ranked 47th in the nation for green job development. I applaud the efforts of the EPA and their expansion on the work that we have been tirelessly putting into this industry here in the gulf coast region.