Archive for the 'Green Jobs' Category

Gender Gap in Youth Green Jobs

Right now, a lot of youth are fighting to stop the tar sands. A lot more are just trying to find a job. Last year, Michael Davidson and I wrote about our work to try to understand if green jobs could be youth jobs. The results were pretty good — young people were underrepresented in green job creation in the U.S., but not by much.

This year, we tried to see if the situation had changed. Turns out not much – U.S. youth probably are still getting fewer green jobs compared to other age groups and compared to how many jobs we have in the economy overall. So, pretty good news. And if investing in clean energy and climate change-fighting solutions will create more jobs than business as usual, or  more fossil fuel investments — and the green jobs research says it will — then that will probably mean more jobs for youth. Green jobs will be youth jobs.

Gender Differences in U.S. Youth Green Jobs

Young women have not benefited from green job creation as much as young men.Source: Muro, Mark, Jonathan Rothwell, and Devashree Saha. 2011. Sizing the Clean Economy. Washington: Brookings Institution. Available at http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Series/resources/0713_clean_economy.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2011.Source: 2012. Table 15. Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, and age, Annual Average 2011. Washington: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unpublished work tables from the Current Population Survey. Received March 1, 2012.
Brookings data sums to more than 100% due to rounding.

But then we asked — which youth will have those green jobs? And here things don’t look so great.

We got pretty good data for male/female breakdown within youth jobs (at least for ages 16-24, and without data on transgender youth). When we matched this gender data up with the green jobs and youth data, we got this table. The categories are from a cool Brookings Institute clean energy jobs report, but don’t worry too much about them. Instead, check out the gold boxes at the bottom right.

In the overall economy, young men and women are almost even in how many of us have jobs — we’re 6.4% of all jobs in the economy for dudes, and 6.0% for girls (putting it together, youth have 12.4% of all jobs in the economy, compared to 10.9% of the clean energy economy).

But in the clean energy economy (at least as of 2011), male youth have about 7.5% of all the jobs, while female youth only have 3.5%. This is basically the same trend I found for all age groups in past research – men outnumber women for direct green jobs. I also found disparities across races and ethnicities, but there isn’t good data on this for just youth, so more work is need to understand where else youth green job creation might be unequal.

The good news is what we’ve said before – if investing in green jobs creates more jobs overall, this will probably mean more jobs in total for both genders. But, for now at least, men will benefit comparatively more.

Can we change this? Probably. But so far, we haven’t even been talking about the issue. Now that we know the situation, we can start figuring out solutions to help make sure green jobs are green jobs for all.

Want much more detail? Dive into the full report (don’t worry, it’s only 17 pages, and most of those are tables).

Thoughts following Midwest Powershift

Cross-posted from http://www.solutionaries.net by Ruby Levine

I spent the weekend at Midwest Powershift in Cleveland. Among the rallies, trainings, and speeches, I was able to catch some downtime with fellow Summer of Solutions program leaders and participants from around the Midwest. Especially valuable was a conversation I had with members of other Midwestern programs on Saturday night.

500 young people applaud Joshua Kahn Russell's keynote poem at Midwest Powershift in Cleveland. Photo credit Ben Hejkal.

This conversation helped me articulate two things: one, the “good environmentalists vs. the evil polluters” framing I saw a lot of other places during the conference makes me deeply uncomfortable, and two, if the green economy is going to work it needs to be the whole economy, not a side industry.

Continue reading ‘Thoughts following Midwest Powershift’

Apply to Start a Summer of Solutions Program in Your Community!

Cross-posted from www.solutionaries.net by Ruby Levine.

The Summer of Solutions is a program for young people who want to build just, sustainable economies in their communities.

We want to invite YOU to be one of those young people building those solutions. Apply here by October 22 to start a program in your community or to join an existing program leader team.

Running a program gives you the opportunity to create and support green economy projects that build power for people who currently don’t have as much access AND to empower young people from your community and beyond with the skills and strategies they need to do the same thing wherever they go next.

Past Summer of Solutions programs have:

  • Built community gardens and farms on vacant lots
  • Taught neighbors how to use bikes as an effective form of transit
  • Run summer camps for children to help them learn about healthy eating and growing their own food
  • Founded and partnered with energy businesses to create a community-based clean energy system
  • Created community spaces, from mini-golf courses in the coal fields of West Virginia to a playground in Detroit, MI
  • Designed and organized for green manufacturing at a closing car factory in Saint Paul, MN
  • Continue reading ‘Apply to Start a Summer of Solutions Program in Your Community!’

The View from Four Years Out

Cross-posted from www.solutionaries.net, where you can find more stories of young people building the green economy.

When I helped close the 2011 Twin Cities Summer of Solutions three weeks ago, I knew something amazing was happening, but in the flurry of it all I wasn’t really able to identify it. I started to get a sense of it when I first sat down at the Grand Aspirations August Gathering two weeks ago, when forty people from all over the country streamed in with wondrous stories of their work creating the green economy. By the end of the Gathering, last week, the full depth of the change was starting to dawn on me and was brought to the front of my attention when Ethan Buckner, a friend and Oakland Summer of Solutions Program Leader, said smiling at the end of a big group hug, ‘you know, we’ve created something really remarkable in the past few years’. Now, after a week of catching up and taking the next steps forward back in Minnesota, I’m finally seeing the view from four years out.

Four years ago was about 6 months after the events that got Cooperative Energy Futures and the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy off the ground – the seeds of my green economy work in the Twin Cities. It was about 6 months before the vision for the Summer of Solutions and Grand Aspirations emerged. Four years ago, there had been no national gatherings of thousands of youth activists, candidate Barack Obama was barely a competitor, and the economy had not yet tanked. The dream of a green economy was barely starting to be voiced, and the idea that we could sustain ourselves, our communities, and the future of our world by creating new ways to feed, house, power, and transport our society was an exciting but utopian ideal.

So what has changed?
Continue reading ‘The View from Four Years Out’

Will Green Jobs Be YOUTH Jobs?

This post was co-written with Michael Davidson.

Image credit: UOPowerShift09Just in case our 5 years of swarming state capitals decked out in green hard hats, running campaigns calling for more jobs in clean energy, and vowing to only vote for candidates who support renewable energy companies hasn’t made it clear — youth really want more green jobs.

While young people have been some of the biggest advocates for green jobs, no one has really tried to answer the question of whether green jobs will be youth jobs? Will more green jobs mean more jobs for youth, or will young people miss out on the very green jobs we’ve worked so hard to create?

So far, the answer has been “we don’t know.” That’s because, despite all of the green jobs studies that have been done, none of them has really looked at the different kinds of people who actually get green jobs (one exception is for income and education level). This is especially true across different races, ethnicities, genders, and, yeah, ages. So, we set out to change that, writing the first study we know of to look at youth access to green jobs, and also the first written by youth. Continue reading ‘Will Green Jobs Be YOUTH Jobs?’

Launching Summer Projects: We’re Getting Dirty to Go Clean

Guest post from Matt Kazinka, leader with the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions. Cross posted from WeArePowerShift.org

Sometimes the quickest way to a clean energy economy is to get a little dirty. That’s right, it’s time to get our hands in the dirt and physically build the clean and just energy economy we want. And that’s exactly what young people across the country are doing this summer. We’re stepping up to get our hands dirty creating local clean energy solutions like community gardens, home weatherizations, and clean energy cooperatives.

This summer, youth leaders across the country are launching a host of community-based projects that will revitalize our economy in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner. These projects range widely from building community gardens in Oakland to stopping the construction of a dirty coal plant in Georgia. But they all have one thing in common: DIY. Young people aren’t waiting for the government to act. We are stepping up to show our elected officials that we have the power in our own communities to create what we want and demand that they put dirty politics aside and follow our lead.

Changing the way our policies system works means changing our relationship with our communities. Through these projects, young people are working in partnership with diverse local organizations and coalitions to build the green economy from the ground up. With creativity, collaboration, and hard work, they are demonstrating that there is endless potential for prosperity at our fingertips. This summer, we will pilot ground-breaking strategies for energy efficiency, urban agriculture, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, waste reduction, and green industry.

We want a clean energy economy that supports everyone in a way the dirty energy economy never could. The era of segregated neighborhoods, polluted politics and economic apartheid has been played out. We have inherited deep-seated problems – climate change, political turmoil, social inequities, and economic disparities of mass proportions. Nothing about these challenges is simple, but nothing about them is inevitable, either. We have the power and are creating change. Continue reading ‘Launching Summer Projects: We’re Getting Dirty to Go Clean’

Massachusetts Residents Call Out Scott Brown, Rally Strong for Clean Air

Crossposted from 350.org

Today I got to stand next to more than 50 Massachusetts mothers, children, workers, community leaders, and people of faith to kick off something truly unique – a “crowd-funded” citizen’s campaign to hold Senator Scott Brown accountable for voting to gut the Clean Air Act. At 12:00pm on the sidewalk in front of the JFK Federal Building in Boston, also known as Scott Brown’s district office, we held banners and puppets of Scott Brown and his fat cat supporters “Coal” and “Oil, signs, and a blow-up of the new ad our friends and neighbors funded.

The text of the ad read: “Senator Brown: On April 6th you voted to gut the Clean Air Act. Was it because dirty energy companies and their corporate front groups poured more than $1.9 million into your campaign last year? Are you working for people or Big Polluters?” Interested in joining us in funding the ad? Check it out here.

Continue reading ‘Massachusetts Residents Call Out Scott Brown, Rally Strong for Clean Air’

Power Shift 2011: Join The Briefcase Brigades On April 27

Our guest blogger is Noland Chambliss, a member of the Briefcase Brigades.

Ten thousand young people descended on Washington for the Power Shift conference this weekend to call for bold action from government leaders to address climate change and create a clean energy economy for all. Many of these young people had a more specific, and personal, message for Congress: “I need a job.”

Inspired by passionate speeches addressing youth unemployment by AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and green jobs visionary Van Jones, the members of the Briefcase Brigades are bringing attention to the epidemic of un- and under-employed millennials:

We are ready to work. We know the economy is in bad shape. We know the country is in trouble. We want to help. But first, we need jobs.

Watch the story of the Briefcase Brigades at Power Shift 2011:

On April 27th, while Congress is in recess and members are back in their districts, young people are creating Briefcase Brigades and going to their offices all around the country to demand Congress prioritize jobs over budget cuts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 5 million young people who are out of work. That doesn’t count people with unpaid internships, people with low-wage jobs that don’t have health insurance, and people who went back to school because they couldn’t find a job. Continue reading ‘Power Shift 2011: Join The Briefcase Brigades On April 27′

Van Jones Tells Us To “Shift The Power!”

by Brad Johnson, cross-posted from www.powershift2011.org

In a passionate keynote address, green jobs leader Van Jones exhorted the 10,000 youth climate activists at thePower Shift conference in Washington DC to “shift the power” and lead the clean power revolution. He argued that both parties need to be held accountable for their failures, and that activists must explain that the climate movement isn’t just about “hippie power” but that it is a vision of liberty and justice for all.

Van Jones had harsh words for the national political establishment. “You have to be wise enough to hold both parties to high standards,” he said:

While they’re stuck on stupid in DC, your generation is rising.

Van Jones also discussed President Barack Obama, who hired him as a green jobs adviser but then let him go after Jones’ politics and person came under a relentless barrage from Fox News’ Glenn Beck. Jones argued that President Obama is like the friend who has the potential to be an A-plus student, but is only getting C’s and D’s. Jones told the assembled youth from campuses around the nation they can be a “hero for making sure your friend gets an A-plus on his presidency.” Van Jones described how we have a civilization “fueled by death” — fossil fuels from plants and animals that died millions of years ago:

We pull out of the ground death. We burn death in our power plants. Why do we get shocked when we get death in our sky as global warming, death in our oceans as oil spills, death in our children’s lungs as asthma and cancer?

The strongest moments of his speech came when he discussed America’s basic principles, in the context of arguing with “your uncle Joe” who watches Fox News at the Thanksgiving table. “Don’t you believe in liberty?” Van asked. “Shouldn’t we have the right as Americans to be energy producers?” he asked. “Shouldn’t we have the right and liberty to be free from energy companies who dictate how much we pay, what air we breathe?” Coal and oil companies try to divide us with cultural stereotypes and political ideology, when a green economy is actually the truly American economy:

The stereotype is that solar power is just hippie power. But it’s also cowboy power, farmer power, rancher power, and Appalachian mountain power!

Van Jones addressed the Tea Party movement that sees him as a “terrorist” and “communist.” “I’m glad our sisters and brothers in the Tea Party are talking about liberty,” he said. However, he said, they’re missing something important. The Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t just talk about liberty being integral to our nation:

The Pledge of Allegiance says liberty and justice for all!

With his voiced raised to the diverse crowd, Van Jones said “justice for all” includes justice for minorities, justice for women, justice for gays, and justice for the poor. “Shift the power!” Van Jones concluded to thunderous applause. Photo by Josh Lopez. Follow @PowerShift11 on Twitter.

Create Up to 10 Green Jobs in One Afternoon

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Cross-posted from the WeatherizeDC blog, by Ayla Schlosser

If there is one thing that our communities desperately need right now, it’s jobs.

Power Shift will bring thousands of dedicated, energetic youth into Washington, D.C. this weekend to strategize about solutions for a clean energy future—but what impact will they have had on the D.C. community?

Hopefully a big one.  WeatherizeDC is partnering with Power Shift to give participants an opportunity to get outside, explore D.C., and create up to 10 good green jobs in one afternoon.

Canvass09How?  By joining us for the largest community canvass to build the clean energy economy in history!

WeatherizeDC is a community led movement committed to driving a clean energy economy that creates opportunities for folks from underserved communities.  We organize homeowners to weatherize together, and connect them with contractors who are committed to hiring local labor. The urgency of this work is highlighted by the fact that Ward 8 in D.C. has the highest unemployment rate in the country and the widest disparity amongst those employed and those not.  We are working to bridge that gap. So far, in the span of just two years, we have created close to 30 good, green jobs for area residents.

Continue reading ‘Create Up to 10 Green Jobs in One Afternoon’


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