Authors: Van Jones
Great news! I'm going to the White House! And Green For All has an amazing new leader!
Special Advisor For Green Jobs: Me
I will be at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. My job will be to help shape the administration's energy and climate policy, so that climate solutions produce jobs and justice for all Americans.
I am going to be the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Dispelling Some Rumors
If you've had your ear to the blogosphere in the past few days, you may have heard some rumors. The most prevalent call me the new "Green Jobs Czar."
But I am not going to be any kind of "Czar." If anyone were to be the "Green Jobs Czar" (a position that does not exist), it would and should be Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She was an original sponsor of the Green Jobs Act of 2007. Obama appointed her as the first Latina - and first green leader - to head the Department of Labor. Can anyone say "Green Jobs Czarina"?
Also, rumors that I will be handing out big piles of Recovery Act cash are utterly false. Unfortunately. :)
But enough about me. My new position with the Obama White House is not the only miracle that we are celebrating this week.
Green For All's New Leader: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
The other magical development is the leader who will replace me at Green For All's helm: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.
If you were writing a script or a novel, you simply couldn't invent a better leader than Phaedra to take Green For All - and the entire movement for green jobs - to the next level.
As nearly everyone who lives in California already knows, Phaedra is a true superstar - widely recognized as one of America's most brilliant, creative and successful social justice leaders. She helped to expand health care access in San Jose and across California. She also helped to raise the minimum wage for low-income families in the South Bay - twice.
As a result, San Jose Magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful people in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley Business Journal called her one of "40 leaders to watch under 40." Presently, she is the head of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and also of Working Partnerships USA. She will join Green For All this month as its Chief Executive Officer.
Green Jobs: Moving From Inspiration to Implementation
Phaedra is the right leader to move Green For All forward. The movement for green jobs is shifting from a focus on inspiration to a focus on implementation.
And Green For All needs a top leader who has the practical know-how to get the job done.
For example, the green aspects of the recovery package will put billions of dollars on the table to repair our economy and restore our environment. But those dollars must travel a long way from the signing ceremony, through various levels of government, to get to communities across America. There are a thousand ways that folks from disadvantaged communities could be left out and left behind.
Phaedra knows how to translate public dollars and promises into good jobs for everyday people. She has a track record of winning real results. She commands the respect of labor leaders, elected officials, business leaders, social justice champions and environmentalists. Most importantly: she understands the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of tools that will get real work to real people on the ground - workforce development, community economic development, project labor agreements, community benefits agreements and more.
Green For All: From Start-Up Operation to Enduring Impact
Furthermore, with your support, Green For All has moved rapidly and successfully through its start-up phase. In just our first 14 months, Green For All has become a national organization with 32 staff members, a multi-million dollar annual budget, and an online network of 70,000 people. We have won a string of victories, most notably: $500 million from the federal government to support green job training programs across the country. These funds were an important part of President Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Now we are ready for the next-stage of leadership. Phaedra knows how to turn a start-up into an enduring organization. She has done it before. I am thrilled that she will do it again, at Green For All.
This year, the green jobs movement will be focused on helping to ensure equal access to the money in the green aspects of Obama's recovery package, while winning jobs and justice in the upcoming federal climate legislation. To be successful, the green justice forces need to be able to work from the bottom-up and the top-down. Now we will be much better able to - on both fronts.
My move to the White House - and Phaedra's move to Green For All - constitute a dramatic leap forward in the potential scale and impact of the movement for an inclusive, green economy. We ask for - and welcome - your support, love and prayers during this period, as we move from "hope" to change.
Green for all,