Council unanimously adopted a resolution today to support the recruitment for and development of green careers for young people of color, both in City of Seattle government and in the Seattle economy as a whole. Earlier this year the City, via the Workforce Equity Action Plan, committed to improve recruitment, support and advancement of entry-level workers through internships, apprenticeships, the Youth Employment Program, and investments in job training. Today’s resolution builds on that work by launching a green jobs strategy as part of that effort.
The resolution was championed by the Got Green organization, which also helped shape the proposal using the experiences of its grassroots young leaders. As Mo! Avery, Program Organizer of the Young Leaders in the Green Movement stated, “Even while struggling to make it, young people have environmental values and want to make a difference. Our city has an obligation to make sure this potential does not go to waste.”
The green jobs strategy is a multi-pronged effort to provide jobs at the City, jobs in the private sector, and entrepreneurship opportunities that embody climate justice values. The resolution, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Mike O’Brien defines a “green job” as one that “preserves or enhances environmental health as well as the economic and social well-being of people and communities, centers on communities most negatively impacted by climate change, and pays a living wage while providing career pathways.” Green jobs are intended to lead people to careers in waste reduction, alternative transportation, green energy, urban farming, and clean technology, among other fields.
“It’s inspiring when a community comes together with an idea, builds a collation, and works with City to develop a path forward. I’ve seen a lot of incredible work done, and the City has a deep commitment to get this right,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “If our goal is to set young people up for success, we should not just provide a job, but a pathway to a lifelong, meaningful career – that’s what is at this resolution’s core.”
“13 out of 14 of the heaviest industrial polluters in Seattle are within half a mile of the places where communities of color live,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park). “The jobs intended to fix that environmental degradation are most important to our world, but often pay the least.”
“With this bill, we are continuing to prioritize and challenge our employers and City to ensure we are building a pathway for our young adults of color to gain access to living wage green jobs,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, Southeast Seattle). “Being one of the premier markets for the green energy and green technology industry, we must keep these jobs local.”