Photo credit: JeremyLevineDesign
The U.S. Labor Department’s Veterans Workforce Investment Program is doling out some serious cash to get military veterans into green careers. Last week $7.5 million was doled out to veterans organizations in several states, including Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, Arizona, and California.
In Long Beach, California the United States Veterans Initiative, established in LA in 1992, will receive a $500,000 grant to train local veterans. A similar group in San Francisco will get $300,000. In Long Beach the goal is to train 133 veterans –mainly the at-risk and homeless — in jobs relating to residential and commercial solar installations, solar water heater repair, solar energy roofing and electrical installation and maintenance, as well as solid and wastewater treatment.
Federally, the Labor Department’s move is part of their philosophy that green jobs represent one of our best avenues out of recession and into a clean and healthy economy (not to mention a healthy populace and environment).
The grants could not come soon enough for California and its resident veterans. California’s unemployment rate just hit a record 11.5 percent in May, many of of the unemployed being veterans. Veteran unemployment was at 7 percent in May, up from 4.5 percent at the same time last year.
Indeed the market for green jobs is very high, with not enough skilled labor to go around. So the advent of green job training for these veterans should result in gainful employment for the majority involved. In Long Beach they are aiming to put at least 75 percent of those 133 veterans to work through the program.