You’ve probably heard of the Green New Deal. The idea that we can save the planet and address issues like economic inequality, all at the same time.
Well, last week in Austin, a little piece of that idea came to life with the launch of the Green Union Jobs’s Solar and Carpentry Training Program, aimed at training low-income youth, women, and minorities for careers in the solar and green building industries.
“This is an example of how we make a really powerful, big idea, actually work in our local community and transform people’s lives,” explained Austin City Council Member Greg Casar at the launch event last week.
Greg spoke about the Green New Deal and its goal of creating new jobs and growing the middle class.
“And that’s a powerful idea being debated at the national level,” Greg said. “But the question is, how does that actually work here locally? And instead of waiting for that debate to wrap up in Washington DC, I think the way we do things at the City of Austin, the way we do things as Austinites, is we just start making it work right now.”
Created in partnership with American Youthworks, the City of Austin, and local unions, the 4-week training will allow participants to enter the workforce as solar installers or 2nd year carpenter apprentices. As it says on its Facebook page, “the goal is to provide workforce training opportunities in the green jobs sector to people who might not otherwise have access to careers with a high earning potential, in addition to meeting growing labor demands.”
Addressing these inequities is what makes this program so exciting for Council Member Casar.
“And it is a fact, that while Austin has been such a great city for so many people, there are a lot of folks that are still stuck in that service job and don’t have a career path upward.,” Greg said. “And if we’re going to address the issues of increased flooding and climate change, why don’t we do that in a way that actually helps folks pay the rent? Helps make sure that not just the same old folks get to benefit from Austin’s growth, but that the people who build this city get to benefit from that growth.”
Interested in learning more? You can watch a video of the entire launch event (filmed by Jeff Zavala) below: