Green Collar Jobs: Building a Just and Sustainable Economy

Mon, 22 Oct 2007 13:00:00 GMT

Featured Panelists:
  • Carleton Brown CEO, Full Spectrum, LLC
  • Majora Carter Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
  • Sadhu Johnston Chief Environmental Officer, City of Chicago
  • Van Jones, President and Founder, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Moderated by:
  • Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

A new wave of green investment is sweeping our nation’s cities, driven by policies from green building laws, to renewable energy standards, to the mayors’ climate pledges. Reorienting our antiquated urban and energy infrastructure around the platforms of efficiency, sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions represents perhaps the preeminent engine for innovation, job creation, and economic productivity growth in coming decades. While federal policy remains in a stalemate, America’s cities are taking the lead in promoting a cleaner and more secure energy future – seizing the enormous opportunity afforded by the exploding “green” economic sector to rebuild communities, regional economies, and people’s lives.

With billions of dollars poised to flow into cities in the form of green investment, a movement is growing to ensure that the new green economy builds local businesses and creates good jobs for those who need them most. The question people are asking is: “who will get the green jobs of the future?” Around the country, cutting edge businesses, community activists, and forward-thinking elected officials are making good on the promise of green cities to expand economic opportunity and build career ladders into family-supporting green jobs with living wages.

This panel of national experts on “green collar jobs” and environmentally-oriented economic development comes at a critical moment for our city and our nation, as we grapple with how to leverage emerging policies on green building, clean energy, waterfront restoration, and climate change as an opportunity to reinvest in jobs, skills, and local businesses, even as we rebuild our neighborhoods and restore aging infrastructure. These experts will tell their concrete stories of how community groups, developers, and city governments are forging a better path forward into a green, equitable, and prosperous economy.

9:00am to 10:30am Admission is free.

A light breakfast will be served.

Center for American Progress 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC 20005 Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

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For more information, please call 202.682.1611.


Carleton Brown is founding partner and Chief Operating Officer of Full Spectrum of NY. He oversees the development and deployment of high performance and sustainable building technologies and strategies in Full Spectrum’s developments and insures that all projects meet appropriate performance and quality standards. Based on a belief that all communities regardless of race, ethnicity or income are entitled to a sustainable future, Mr. Brown and his team have become market leaders throughout the US in restructuring urban investment to create green, economically sustainable and equitable urban habits that value cultural diversity. Carlton Brown is a 1973 graduate of Princeton University – School of Architecture and Urban Planning. He has served on numerous business and governmental boards, and is currently a member of NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board.

Majora Carter is connecting poverty alleviation & the environment in ways that benefit both concerns, demonstrating Clean-Tech solutions for our most persistent urban public health & global climate concerns. By creating positive physical environments, demonstrating cool and green roof technologies, working to replace an under-utilized expressway with local-value driven development, and the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program, she is creating a skilled green-collar workforce with personal & economic stakes in their urban environment. Majora was born, raised, and continues to live & work in the South Bronx, an environmentally challenged community. She founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to fight for Environmental Justice through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs. She earned a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for her vision, drive, and tenacity as an urban revitalization strategist; and in 2007 was named one of Newsweek’s “Who’s Next in 2007”, NY Post’s 50 most influential women in New York City, Vibe Magazine’s New Power Generation, and awarded the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award.

Sadhu Johnston is Chief Environmental Officer for the Mayor’s Office in the City of Chicago. As Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chief Environmental Officer, Johnston is responsible for oversight of all City of Chicago environmental initiatives, helping to implement Mayor Daley’s commitment to green economic development. Prior to serving in this capacity, Johnston served as the Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Environment (DOE). He was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in July of 2005 after serving as the Assistant to the Mayor for Green Initiatives. His responsibilities as commissioner included the overall management of the Department of the Environment, which administers programs to protect and restore Chicago’s natural resources, reduce waste, clean up brownfields, promote energy efficiency and reliability, educate the public about environmental issues, and enforce the City’s environmental protection laws. Prior to working for the City of Chicago, Sadhu served as the Executive Director of the Cleveland Green Building Coalition. Sadhu is quoted as saying “My role is to bring the department of environment into each department.”

Van Jones is working to combine solutions to America’s two biggest problems: social inequality and environmental destruction. Van co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which is now headquartered in Oakland, California. In June 2007, the City of Oakland adopted a proposal from the Ella Baker Center and the Oakland Apollo Alliance to create a “Green Jobs Corps” to train youth for eco-friendly “green-collar jobs.” Now the Center is working with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to create the country’s first-ever Green Enterprise Zone, to attract environmentally sound industry to Oakland. At the national level, Van and the Ella Baker Center helped to pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007, as Title 1 of the U.S. House energy package. When signed and authorized, this path-breaking, historic legislation will provide $125 million in funding to train 35,000 people a year in “green-collar jobs.” Van is also the founding president of “Green For All,” a national campaign for green-collar jobs and opportunities.

Bracken Hendricks is a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress where he works on the issues of climate change and energy independence, green jobs, infrastructure investment, and economic policy, with a focus on broadening progressive constituencies and message framing. Bracken was the founding Executive Director and is currently a National Steering Committee member of the Apollo Alliance for good jobs and energy independence, a coalition of labor, environmental, business and community leaders dedicated to changing the politics of energy independence. Hendricks served as a Consultant to the Office of the President of the AFL-CIO and as an Economic Analyst with the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute. He has been a member of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Energy Advisory Task Force, the Cornell University Eco-Industrial Round Table, and the Energy Future Coalition. He is also a philanthropic advisor to the Wallace Global Fund on matters of Civic Engagement and Democratic Participation. Hendricks serves on the board of Green HOME, a Washington DC based non-profit promoting green building in affordable housing.


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