Visit the "Our World 2030" event pages
With real job openings in the U.S. plummeting 50 percent in two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in the sustainability sector offers one of the most promising outlooks in the economic landscape. Nationally, employment in the sector grew by 9.1 percent in the decade ending in 2007, compared with 3.7 percent overall*, and a report from the Conference of Mayors projects 3.5 million new green jobs by 2030. Yet under-represented populations and communities risk being shut out of these gains.
Now a newly rescheduled March 24 conference presented by the Colin Powell Center will examine the critical issues of education and workforce training needed to leverage the green economy—including issues of inclusion that minority populations and communities face in tapping the potential of a sustainable future. The conference, “Our World 2030: Preparing a New Generation for a Sustainable Future,” will emphasize New York City’s particular challenges and opportunities in transforming the economic and educational outlook through 2030, when today’s youngest generation will begin to enter the workforce. Headlining the event, which is being sponsored by the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues, will be Jerome Ringo, one of the nation’s leading advocates for green jobs.
New York is ideally poised to take advantage of strong growth in the sustainability sector. The city ranks first among U.S. metro areas in green-jobs potential, according to the Council of Mayors’ report. Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC includes 127 initiatives for greening the Big Apple, and venture capitalists have pumped some $200 million into the state's clean-energy economy over the past two years. However, hurdles stand in the way of full minority participation. Primary among these is the so-called “green-collar ceiling,” through which minority workers languish in low-skill, low-wage positions, when green jobs that require advanced degrees and complex skill sets are forecast to provide much of the new green employment, according to NYC Labor Market Information Service. Exploring pathways out of poverty through “green” career opportunities will be a focus of the evening. As Rob Carmona, president of Strive, the workforce development organization, noted recently in Huffington Post: “Now is the time to prepare folks from all backgrounds for ‘emerging’ industries. This includes helping employers understand the value of these untapped [human] resources that are coming from at-risk communities.”
Carmona, an Our World 2030 panelist, will tackle such sustainability-related issues on February 10 along with five other distinguished panelists: Hillary Brown, architect, professor, and sustainability pioneer; Tria Case, executive director, Center for Sustainable Energy, Bronx Community College, CUNY; Jaimie Cloud, founder and president, the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education; Myles Lennon, Laborers’ Local 10; and Janna Olson, founder, The Sustainer Project.
“Our World 2030” is presented by the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at CCNY and sponsored by the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues. The New York Life Endowment supports the examination of a wide range of issues—including the transition to a green economy—that affect African-American and other minority communities. Our World 2030 will take place from 4:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 24, 2010, in the historic Great Hall of Shepard Hall, on the campus of the City College of New York, located on Convent Avenue between West 138th Street and West 140th Street. Refreshments will be available throughout the evening, which will include a reception featuring the CCNY Jazz trio led by bassist Saadi Zain. Our World 2030 is free and open to the public; preregistration is required. Additional conference information, registration, and biographies of the featured speakers can be found at http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/powell.
* According to a June 2009 report by The Pew Charitable Trust, “The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America.”