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Green Jobs Conference Draws Thousands of Participants

By Virak Kchao
March 9, 2009

The Blue Green Alliance held one of the largest conferences on green jobs: The Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference February 4-6 in Washington (DC), with over 2,500 attendees. People from across the U.S. working in non-profit, public, and private sectors came together to discuss this growing agenda. A “green job” is generally defined by most organizations as “a worker who is employed in the environmental sectors of the economy.” The conference was used as forum for people to discuss the great potential of green jobs to rebuild the economy.

The three-day conference featured speakers and panelists with a variety of expertise. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, President Van Jones of Green for All, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Congressmen Keith Ellison (MN) spoke during the plenary sessions. Over 40 workshops were also held. These workshops covered topics including climate change, youth culture, and job creation strategies. During the conference, the Expo to Discover the World of Green Jobs was featured by the Blue Green Alliance. Members from a number of manufacturers, corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations showcased their efforts and strategies to create green jobs. A Green Theater showcased what different organizations were doing to be more environmental friendly and to promote green jobs.

Participants believe that investing in various environmental industries and new technology will lift the US out of current struggling times by producing thousands of jobs in many different sectors. A report by The U.S. Conference of Mayors projects there are currently 750,000 green jobs that could climb to over four million in the next 30 years. Industries such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric continue to be more efficient and innovative with new technologies continually emerging. The production and use of these renewable energies would also allow jobs to remain domestic. The U.S. could become highly independent of other countries on energy resources. Certain changes in government policy and funding methods could boost the green economy rapidly.

Another hopeful affect of green jobs is the ability to create social reforms in the country. Non-profits and companies who recruit for green jobs generally target people from minority and underprivileged backgrounds. These higher-waged, skilled jobs will help bring thousands out of poverty. A student could be trained in the classroom and out into the workforce in a matter of months. These jobs are projected by local governments and community organizations to help impoverished neighborhoods turn into sustainable, healthy living ones.

The Green Jobs agenda continues to grow as the public recognizes it as a way to bring the country out of its current recession.