Save the California Conservation Corps!

Authors: ada From Ian Kim, Director of the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign at our sister organization, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: 1/16/09 I don't know about you, but all the talk about economic stimulus makes us ask, "How about GREEN economic stimulus?" How about plans that create green jobs, instead of backward ideas to build unneeded highways and put more polluting cars on the road? And can we PLEASE make sure disadvantaged communities have equal access to these jobs, along with all the thousands of working class people losing their jobs right now in California? Well, we did more than just ask questions. We took our ideas to Sacramento, along with our allies, including the California Apollo Alliance, NRDC, Heal the Bay, and the California Labor Federation. And guess what? Leaders of California's Senate and Assembly on Wednesday unveiled a visionary $2.3 billion "green economic stimulus" package to invest in 21st Century public transit, build much-needed water infrastructure, create thousands of quality, green jobs, and more. Best of all, due in part to the Ella Baker Center's efforts, this package includes $40 million for green job training and education! This includes $20 million specifically for green job training for at-risk youth, $5 million for bolstering the California Conservation Corps system, and $15 million for green partnership academies in high schools across California that will reduce the high school dropout rate and train young people for the new energy economy. Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass have made this package a part of their proposals for California's state budget. The catch? Unless Governor Schwarzenegger and State Legislature can agree on a budget, and soon, none of that $2.3 billion of green-and-equitable goodness will see the light of day. Stay tuned -- this $2.3 billion is just the start. Later this year, California will also get as much as $40-50 billion in federal economic stimulus. We'll need your help to make sure that turns into hundreds of thousands of green jobs for California! And now for a bit of bad news (that you can do something about right now): Astonishingly, Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing to defund and kill the California Conservation Corps1. Apparently, it's one of his budget battle tactics, and it's unacceptable. We're in a "Green New Deal" moment if there ever was one. So it's alarming that the Governor would propose to expel youth from green jobs. We need the exact opposite -- we need to invest even more in green workforce development. The California Conservation Corps is a time-tested, successful green job training program that for decades has served youth -- largely from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds -- by training them in endangered species protection, natural disaster emergency response, ecosystem restoration, recycling projects, renewable energy installation, and more. Governor Schwarzenegger needs to know that people in California care about the California Conservation Corps. Click here to tell the Governor "Don't Cut the California Conservation Corps": Green jobs, not jails, Ian Kim Ella Baker Center for Human Rights 1: Environmental News Network:

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