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WHERE ARE THE GREEN-COLLAR JOBS?

WHERE ARE THE GREEN-COLLAR JOBS?What is a "green-collar" job? "A green-collar jobis, in essence, a

blue-collar job that has been upgraded to address the environmental

challenges of our country," according to Lucy Blake of the Apollo Alliance,

which is helping to transition the economy from fossil fuels to renewable

energy.Green-collar jobs that are generated by encouraging energy efficiency

include home energy auditors, insulation installers, weatherization

workers, retrofitters for buildings, and installers of solar electricity

and solar hot water systems. Other green-collar workers are brewing

biofuels, building hybrid cars, and erecting giant windturbines. Labor

unions view these new jobs as replacements for positions lost to overseas

manufacturing and outsourcing. Urban groups view training in green jobs as

a route out of poverty. And environmentalists say they are crucial to

combating climate change. Obama considers them part of the economic

stimulus plan.According to Van Jones - who is the founder of the Ella Baker Center for

Human Rights and of the Oakland (Calif.) Apollo Alliance and who also is an

adviser to President Barack Obama for green jobs - green-collar jobs are

manual-labor jobs that can't be outsourced."You can't take a building you want to weatherize, put it on a ship to

Chinaand then have them do it and send it back," Jones said in a recent New

York Times interview. "So we are going to have to put people to work in

this country - weatherizing millions of buildings, putting up solar panels,

constructing windfarms. Those green-collar jobs can provide a pathway out

of poverty for someone who has not gone to college."Many people have been laid off or have lost jobs in the recent economic

downturn. Young people coming out of college are facing a challenging job

market. Some of these people are opting for entry-level green jobs - such

as a $12-an-hour job weatherizing senior housing, which has the potential

to grow to a $40-an-hour job as a certified home energy auditor. You could

start at $18 an hour working as a solar technician and work your way up to

$50 an hour as a certified solar installer, as another example."If we can get these youth in on the ground floor of the solar industry

now, where they can be installers today, they'll become managers in five

years and owners in 10. And then they become inventors," Jones said to the

Times. "The green economy has the power to deliver new sources of work,

wealth and health to low-income people - while honoring the Earth. If you

can do that, you just wiped out a whole bunch of problems."Meanwhile, job training for millions of green-collar jobs has to happen

right away. Infrastructure needs to be set up for training, and funding for

that has to come from somewhere. Funds could come from taxes on global

warming pollution or from revenues from a cap and auction system, in which

heavy polluters buy pollution rights and the money is used to fund

green-job training centers.Jones' Oakland Apollo Alliance helped to raise $250,000 from the city

government to create a union-supported training program that will teach

young people in Oakland how to put up solar panels and weatherize

buildings. Jones is partnering nationally with other environmental

activists, such as Majora Carter from Sustainable South Bronx in New York,

for congressional support of $125 million - far less than most corporate

bailouts - to train 30,000 young people a year in green trades."The green economy needs Ph.D.s and Ph.-do's," says Jones to our nation's

youth. "You can make more money if you put down that handgun and pick up a

caulk gun!"Here's what you can do:Ask Congress to support a "carbon tax" and "cap and auction" system to make

big polluters fund our transition away from fossil fuels. (Go to

http://www.1Sky.org.)Ask your town board to mandate Energy Star guidelines

in the building code to encourage energy efficiency.Create a national Clean

Energy Co