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What is a Green Job? A Construction Job!

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders AGC of America CEO Steve Sandherr made the point that construction jobs meet all the criteria of the loosely defined green job including:

• Improving the environment;
• Offering good-paying jobs;
• Offering opportunities for advancement;
• Are jobs that cannot be outsourced; and
• Encouraging participation by a diverse population.

The letter was sent in response to a March 31 hearing held to examine green jobs and their role in our nations economic recovery.

With regard to the definition of green job AGC of America sent the letter to emphasize how large a role the construction industry plays in a green economy how important it is to capture all of the green work that the industry does – including recycling at the highest levels of any industry – and the need to provide training for traditional crafts that may benefit by but do not need training in green practices in order to work successfully on a green project.

Further AGC stressed the need for the federal government to avoid over-defining green jobs so that it excludes large segments of the industry and highlighted the many ways that AGC its members and chapters promote training and construction in environmentally sound and green practices.

Sandherr cited Washington State information to make his case. His letter states:

If one defines a ‘green job as: ‘Jobs that have a direct positive impact on the environment – as did the Washington State Employment Security Department in a January 2009 report – then a laborer electrician mason construction manager heavy equipment operator supervisor carpenter painter or any other construction worker helping to retrofit an existing building construct a new green building or perform some other traditional construction task necessary to build and connect a renewable energy source to the nations power grid – such as erecting a windmill or installing solar panels – is a ‘green collar worker…The Washington state report added: ‘Green jobs are not necessarily new jobs but often traditional jobs in industries and companies that are adapting to new markets and opportunities.

The letter concluded: By building energy efficiency into existing and future infrastructure the construction industry is an essential partner in the nations efforts to nurture a green economy.

To see the full text of the letter click here.


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