Archive for Sunday, October 25, 2009

Public input sought at Community Forum on Job Growth

October 25, 2009


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When: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Lawrence High School cafeteria, 1901 La.

What: Public invited to participate in small-group discussions regarding employment conditions in Lawrence, and to help shape creation of a community job-growth strategy.

Who: Event sponsors are the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, city of Lawrence, Lawrence Journal-World and the Lawrence-Douglas County chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Sauer-Danfoss’ decision to close its Lawrence manufacturing plant next year is helping drive a push to generate a community economic-development strategy.

And some of the most important work starts next week.

Thursday evening, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and its partners will convene a Community Forum on Job Growth, an event designed to collect the public’s ideas about how the community should proceed when it comes to attracting new companies to town, encouraging existing ones to expand and otherwise build a reliable pipeline of reliable employment.

And in case anyone needs a reminder of the importance of jobs, look no further than the recent announcement that 100 people soon will be losing their jobs at one of the more stable employers in the East Hills Business Park, said Tom Kern, chamber president and CEO.

“One of the things that this current economic recession has made people aware of is that even Lawrence isn’t immune,” Kern said. “The (approaching) closure of the Sauer-Danfoss facility is an unfortunate example of a fact that the recession is real, and that without sustainable job growth — over a long period of time — communities can’t exist.”

Thursday’s event will allow regular folks to hear about the city’s economic conditions and employment statistics from city officials, then gather for discussions in small groups.

Their task: Identify assets that Lawrence can build upon when it comes to job growth and then compile a list of liabilities that may be holding the community back.

“We’ll ask people to help us solution-build,” Kern said. “From a person working at the Amarr Garage Doors facility to a nurse at the hospital, we want everyone to come.”

The work will lead to development of a list of priorities, to help shape how the community can seek out, foster and generate job creation, Kern said.

“This isn’t a consultant coming in from out of town and telling us what we should do or not do,” Kern said. “It’s really ourselves asking ourselves these questions and kind of coming up with some of the answers ourselves — and then building an economic-development strategy based upon what people want, versus what someone tells us we should do.”


Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

As billions of taxpayer dollars start gushing in for green jobs, activists like Monahan want to make sure the funds benefit victims of environmental injustice. Historically, companies and public agencies have tended to locate landfills, incinerators, and other dirty facilities near neighborhoods that are predominantly black or Latino.

Even poor white neighborhoods fare better, says San Francisco State University urban studies professor Raquel Pinderhughes. Monahan links this injustice to a wide spectrum of social ills. She notes, for example, that African Americans have the highest rate of asthma and that asthma is the number-one reason students miss school. This means students learn less, get lower test scores, and as a result, drop out more often than their healthy peers. And people without education are the most likely to turn to crime.

Coalition politics: In Louis King and Karen Monahan, job training meets environmental justice.

"One solution," says Monahan, "is a good green job."

The idea isn't new. Chicago has been running a green-jobs program since 1994, training people in fields like landscaping, horticulture, and computer recycling. Similar programs have sprung up in recent years from Oakland to Newark, New Jersey, many targeting people with criminal records and others who have a hard time landing a job.

Today's green jobs, says Pinderhughes, are a perfect match for the underserved. Because the industries are new, there are few formal technical programs, so most companies provide on-the-job training. Plus, relative to other entry-level opportunities, green jobs tend to pay higher wages, often with benefits. On top of it all, she adds, the work is rewarding. "There's nothing exciting about crawling into an attic and insulating it, but if you understand that you are helping your community, that can take you the extra mile," Pinderhughes says. "Green jobs are inherently meaningful and dignified."

All Worked Up ========================================

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

What is "Green Collar"?

A "green-collar" job is one connected to eco-friendly products and services. Examples are recycling operations, alternate (renewable/sustainable) energy sources, clean technology, construction via green building, organic farming, solar panel production and installation, bicycle repair. There is an abundance of economic opportunity in green industries. Presently, the green industrial cluster comprises the fifth largest market sector in the United States of America.

US legislators, citizens, and corporations have explored and begun to implement initiatives of "going green" toward sustainable energy and a cleaner earth. With environmental efforts expanding the world of work is also changing. Companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs to clean up their cities. Employers are offering reimbursements for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. Recyclable materials are more frequently used in business. Finding eco-friendly employment should become easier and easier at this movement continues.

By definition and nature, green jobs are local job market area positions. Because of this, green jobs can create employment opportunities for previously unemployed or underemployed people and remove them from public assistance roles. They boost local economies by keeping dollars spent at home. Green Enterprise Zones are proposed for a local and then federal government effort for targeting economic growth; this concept will put thousands of Jobs Corps and vocational school graduates to work and remove citizens from the public assistance rolls.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

Sep 22, 2009 ... Growth in Wind Power Will Create 'Green Collar' Jobs, According to Duke Study. Study is latest in Manufacturing Climate Solutions research...

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