Los Angeles, CA (Vocus) September 15, 2009
Congress' passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) earlier this year marked a turning point and widespread opportunities at the state and local levels for economic restructuring. Recognizing this the huge potential of green jobs to transform local economies, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board (OCWIB) partnered with Clean Agency, a sustainability consulting firm, to strategize and create momentum towards improving the economic downturn by bringing high-value green jobs to the county. The result of combining the board's expertise in workforce with the agency's expertise in 'green' saw the completion of the Green Initiatives Steering Tactics (GIST) plan which provided a framework to forecast emerging green industry and jobs based on a number of economic, regulatory and environmental factors.
With the help of data supplied by Dr. Wallace Walrod, Vice President of Economic Development and Research for the Orange County Business Council (OCBC), Clean Agency's Research Director and Industrial Ecologist, Dr. Robert Vos, led in the creation of the GIST plan, an in-depth tailored analysis and strategy document intended to serve as a guide for future green industry advancement activities. To forecast emerging green industry and associated employment opportunities, the GIST evaluated the county's existing and emerging top job clusters, as well as other important drivers of green industry such as regulations like AB32, California's global warming solutions act, and the region's natural resource landscape, for example Southern California's limited water supplies.
This month, the OCWIB along with the OCBC and Clean Agency, employed the GIST by applying for an energy training partnership grant offered through the Department of Labor, making them eligible to secure up to $5 million for its execution. The government estimates that ARRA funding aimed at green jobs will save or create up to 396,000 jobs in California alone. With Orange County accounting for roughly 9 percent of the state's labor force, this could mean more than 35,000 new jobs for the county (http://www.recovery.gov).
Through this process, Clean Agency and the OCWIB have more accurately defined what "green jobs" mean to Orange County. Not only did the study determine opportunities for greening existing industries, it also revealed also how new green jobs can be fostered. Some specific examples of high potential green industries that emerged from the analysis include: tourism, automotive design, retrofits and weatherization, landscape architecture, as well as the manufacturing and installation of solar hot water heaters, waste systems, energy-efficient windows and fuel cells. Synergies with the area's many and diverse educational facilities and programs were also evaluated.
With further implementation of the GIST, to include partnership building, additional research, monitoring and communications, along with the potential to be awarded the Energy Training Partnership Grant, Orange County continues to position itself as a leader in regional planning for a green economy.
Established in 2002 and based in Los Angeles, Clean is a researched-based outreach firm specializing in strategic planning, environment and economic research, integrated marketing and product packaging. Leading in the development and communication of green industry initiatives on a global scale, Clean creates customized solutions for nationally recognized brands and innovative entrepreneurial companies, enabling them to improve their economic and environmental performance simultaneously. For more information visit http://www.cleanagency.com or call (323) 255-9178.
Nicole Bailey-Andrade / nicole(at)cleanagency.com / 323-255-9178 ext. 13