Latino Workforce and the Clean Economy

New research from NCLR (National Council of La Raza) offers a glimpse into the future of the U.S.economy by taking a closer look at the Hispanic workforce in communities with rapidly growing green economies.  NCLR’s report, Bright Green:  Five Metropolitan Areas Where the Latino Workforce and the Clean Economy Overlap, compares the education and occupation profiles of Latinos and green jobs in five “bright green” locales:

  • Knoxville,Tennessee
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission,Texas
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway,Arkansas
  • Albuquerque,New Mexico
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana,California

“The growth of the Latino workforce and the push toward environmental sustainability will define the future of the American economy,” said Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst for the Economic and Employment Policy Project at NCLR.  “The challenge is how to align the fastest-growing segment of the labor force with the fastest-growing sectors of the economy.  Investing in education and training for Latino workers should be part of any strategy to advance the green economy.”

According to NCLR’s report, the benefits of emerging green industries extend beyond a healthier environment.  In general, green jobs pay higher wages than many traditional Hispanic occupations and are more accessible to workers without a four-year college degree.  NCLR’s analysis relies on Census figures and the Clean Economy Database developed by the Brookings Institution.

“Making the job creation potential of the burgeoning clean energy economy a reality for Latino workers requires calling on our cities and states to use green and clean technologies in pending infrastructure projects,” said Shamar Bibbins, Senior Political Associate at Green For All.  “It is equally important to ensure that opportunities are given to Latinos in upcoming projects.”

Susannah Sutherland, Director of the Office of Sustainability for the City of Knoxville, Tenn., joined Singley and Bibbins on a press call to discuss the findings in the report.

“Knoxvilleis excited by the potential outlined in this research,” said Sutherland.  “Much of our grant funding provided education for entering and excelling in the workforce—in fields such as solar instillation and energy-efficient construction—and we intend to use the recommendations in this report to increase the outreach and scope of these efforts.”

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