New York Needs a Coordinated Green Jobs Approach

We begin this year facing a perfect storm of problems: an economy that has yet to recover from a state of crisis, rising unemployment, a workforce whose skills are becoming obsolete, dependence on an unstable supply of imported oil and increasing need to address climate change threats.

Upstate New York, like the nation, faces a tidal wave of economic and environmental challenges that  will only be solved with the re-invention of our workforce and a creative blending of core environmental and economic principles.  In short, we need “green jobs.”  I define this term as family-supporting, career-track employment in the fields of clean energy, energy conservation, clean production and environmental restoration.  In practice, most green jobs are retooled blue-collar jobs with traditional, but upgraded, skill sets.

Green jobs have become a strong focus at the federal and state levels.  The Obama administration has made millions in stimulus funds available for green jobs training.  I co-sponsored the recently enacted Green Jobs/Green NY Act  that will fund retrofits for one million residential units in New York over five years to reduce building energy use, lower housing costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This law will create the demand for green jobs throughout the state, and it provides a funding source via Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds.

The Green Jobs/Green New York Act is a good start.  What is missing is a statewide policy for green job education and training.  That is why I have sponsored the Green Workforce Training and Education Bill (S5640/A8377) along with my colleague George Latimer in the Assembly.  This bill creates a Green Jobs subcommittee within the NY State Workforce Investment Board.  The subcommittee with be charged with four primary tasks:

(1) Analyze labor market and industry data to identify green job creation opportunities;

(2) Make targeted recommendations for education and job training programs, with a focus on at-risk youth, low-income communities, communities of color, and unemployed workers in transition industries;

(3) Assist municipalities in creating local green jobs corps to spur green job training and education across the state; and

(4) Explore funding mechanisms for green job education and job training through a mix of public and private resources, including federal stimulus dollars.

The Green Jobs-Green New York Act creates the demand for green jobs in the area of residential retrofits.  The Green Workforce bill ensures that there is adequate education and job training to meet this demand.  But our bill also looks beyond the 5 year retrofit program by adopting a broad definition of green jobs and developing sufficient education and job training for both existing and emerging green businesses and industries.

Simply put, the Green Workforce bill will help close the gap in workforce education and training for green jobs statewide, and will ensure that New Yorkers are put back to work sooner rather than later.

Antoine M. Thompson is the 60th District New York State Senator and chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.  Co-author Cullen Howe is the Policy Director  of Lawyers for Green Jobs, the organization which has spearheaded the drive for a Green Jobs subcommittee within the State Workforce Investment Board.



Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal to Hold Legal Symposium on Clean Technology

Santa Clara, California- January 14, 2010- The Computer and High Technology Law Journal (CHTLJ) at Santa Clara University School of Law will host a day-long legal symposium focused on the legal issues associated with developing clean technology. The event will be held on January 29, 2010 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., and MCLE credit is being offered for attendance.

“The Clean Technology Revolution: Developing Solutions for Tomorrow’s Legal Challenges” will bring together some of the nation’s leading academics and practicing attorneys to discuss how the legal issues surrounding clean technology development can be be addressed in daily practice. It will feature four panel sessions, including a discussion with in-house counsel and venture capitalists about the issues affecting their businesses, the legal issues raised by the smart grid, the challenges associated with international technology transfers, and the impact of government regulation and access to government funding.

Paul Dickerson, former Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and current partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP, will deliver the lunchtime keynote address.

“The journal is very excited to be able to bring together such an exceptional group of experts to talk about the challenges attorneys will face in working with clients to develop and implement clean technologies,” Vishal Dave, CHTLJ Editor and Chief, said. “We carefully developed our panels so that they will be of both educational and practical value, and we really believe that this will be an event people walk away from feeling like they’ve learned something that can be put to use in daily practice.”

Advance registration is available online at http://www.chtlj.org. The cost for those receiving MCLE credit is $50 before January 22nd, $100 after January 15th, and $125 at the door. The cost for those not receiving MCLE credit is $15. Firms and companies wishing to purchase a table, which seats ten, may do so for a reduced rate of $250 per table.

The Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal is a scholarly publication that publishes four issues per year. The Journal was founded by students in 1984 and has since achieved national and international distinction as a leading publication focusing on cutting-edge technological and legal issues.

Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley. The intellectual property program is consistently ranked among the best in the

nation. For 2009, the intellectual property program is ranked by the U.S. News & World Report Magazine as one of the top 10 programs in the nation.
For more information and to register visit http://www.chtlj.org or send an e-mail to SymposiumInfo@chtlj.org.

Latimer-Thompson Support Letter – Local 10

Urban Agenda and the New York State Apollo Alliance have officially declared their support for the Latimer/Thompson Green Workforce Training and Education Assembly Bill A8377 and Senate Bill S5640. As support mounts for this critical piece of legislation at a time when unemployment is at its highest in a generation and there is growing momentum for climate change mitigation efforts, this important state Bill would help solidify New York’s position as a leader in green jobs. Further, codifying such a comprehensive green jobs education and training effort would set the stage for an economic resurgence.

Show your individual support or the support of an organization with which you are affiliated by emailing us today!

The New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI) is inviting applications for its 2010 class.

NYCELLI is an annual seminar for a select group of new environmental attorneys from private, government, and non-profit practice who are committed to leadership in the field and to making a positive contribution to the City’s environment. The institute is designed to inform, equip and inspire attorneys in the beginning of their careers to take on key roles in the work to improve the quality of New York’s City’s environment and the health of its residents. Participants explore the legal landscape, history and policies behind the environmental challenges confronting the City and its residents. The institute introduces participants to the City’s community of environmental lawyers, encourages innovation and collaboration, and builds a growing network of distinguished alumni.

The institute will commence with an opening reception on Thursday, February 4, 2010, and classes will meet every other Thursday for eight meetings, beginning February 11 and ending on May 20. Applications are due by 5:00pm Monday, January 4, 2010. For more information and to apply, please visit http://www.nycelli.org.

Please share this invitation with anyone who might be interested in applying.

Council Member Gennaro introduced a Resolution to the New York City Council to urge the Legislature of the State of New York to adopt A.8377/S.5640 (Lawyers For Green Jobs) – Green Workforce Development and Education Bill.  The text of the Resolution is below:

NYC Council Resolution