Bill Passed that Creates State Level Green Jobs Subcommittee
On June 20, 2011, the State Legislature passed a bill that, if signed into law, creates a "green jobs" subcommittee within the State Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to carry out statewide green jobs policy. Among other things, the WIB is charged with overseeing programs and policies concerning state workforce development.
The bill adds a new section to the Labor Law which establishes the green jobs subcommittee. The law specifies that the subcommittee is responsible for collecting and analyzing statewide and regional labor market and industry data for the purpose of identifying green job creation opportunities in the state as well as workforce potential to match these opportunities. The goal of this data analysis is to match green job training and education policies with actual job opportunities. Based on the results of this analysis, the subcommittee will make targeted recommendations to develop education and job training programs, with a particular focus on at-risk youth, low-income communities, communities of color, and unemployed workers in transition industries.
The subcommittee is also required to assist local governments in creating local "green jobs corps" to spur green job training and education in municipalities across the state. This assistance can take the form of either creating new local green jobs corps or strengthening existing local programs. In carrying out its tasks, the subcommittee is required to work with a number of public and private stakeholders that are specifically listed in the legislation, including, among others, representatives from the environmental justice community, labor organizations, job training organizations, primary and secondary educational institutions, trade schools, small businesses, and organizations that deal with "at risk" youth and individuals with special needs.
The subcommittee is also required to explore funding mechanisms for green jobs training and education through a mix of public and private resources, including federal stimulus dollars, state, local and/or private funding sources. The law requires that the subcommittee prepare an annual report on green labor market trends in New York State, which is required to be submitted to the Governor and the Legislature.
I, along with five other individuals, created an organization (Lawyers for Green Jobs) which drafted this law, lobbied for it, and worked closely with its sponsors in the Assembly and Senate to ensure its passage. It passed the Assembly by a vote of 141-1 and the Senate by a vote of 60-3. We are grateful for the leadership of Assemblyman George Latimer and Senator Tim Kennedy who both ensured that it passed both houses by large margins.