Post-Labor day special: 5 organizations promoting a green collar economy

You likely associate Labor Day with long weekends, family cook-outs, the last trip of the season, or even putting away certain articles of clothing (yes, I grew up in the South). Of course, the holiday was created to celebrate the contributions of blue collar workers to our country’s economic growth and development. This year, some might find that a bit ironic, as our current economic woes have put many of these people out of work.

A number of thought leaders and organizations believe they have the answer to blue collar job insecurity and unemployment: “green collar jobs.” They argue that work such as home and building weatherization, renewable energy technology installation and maintenance, and other work required in the shift to a low-carbon energy economy, provides jobs for workers from the industrial sector that are more secure than traditional manufacturing: most of these tasks simply can’t be “outsourced” to lower-cost labor markets. A few organizations have sprung up in the last decade to promote “green” as not only good for the environment, but also good for blue collar workers. They include:

  • The Apollo Alliance: Inspired by the Apollo space program, and launched shortly after 9/11, the Apollo Alliance describes itself as “a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.”
  • Repower America: A campaign by the Alliance for Climate Protection, Repower America was created in response to a speech by former Vice President Al Gore that “linked America’s current national security, economic and environmental crises to our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.”
  • Green for All: Co-founded by Van Jones, Green for All is dedicated to “improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. We work in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of our agenda.”
  • Veterans Green Jobs: Veterans spent their time in the military defending national security. Veterans Green Jobs encourages them to continue that mission by providing “exemplary green jobs education and career development opportunities for military veterans, empowering and supporting them to lead America’s transition to energy independence, ecological restoration, community renewal, and economic prosperity.”
  • Greencollar Association: I hadn’t heard of this “industry association dedicated to uniting the needs of business with those of our environment” before doing some searching on the topic, but the Greencollar Association has the support of a number of well-regarded non-profits, including the David Suzuki Foundation,, and AASHE.

These are all large, national and/or international organizations. Are there organizations working in your state, province, city, or town dedicated to creating green collar jobs? Let us know…

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