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Cleveland and LA green collar jobs connection

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/07/11 @ 2:29pm

Los Angeles' Green Retrofit and Workforce Program has been hailed as a model for cities struggling with high unemployment and inefficient municipal buildings, a model for cities like Cleveland. In fact, LA and Cleveland have a connection-both were designated as an Emerald City, a 'blue (collar)-green' project of the Apollo Alliance. LA is targeting 130 of its buildings with $14 million from its Energy Efficiency Block Grants (EEBG comes from the federal Stimulus fund) for retrofits and a training program for city residents. They 'broke ground' in February on the first, the city's Vineyard Recreation Center.

Apollo Alliance is a national group that forms local 'blue-green' coalitions-Cleveland's Apollo Alliance includes the heads of labor, NAACP and foundations. They have been trying to organize a similar municipal green retrofit program at the city. The conversation has been slow but steady-Cleveland Emerald City manager Shanelle Smith has been active with the 2019 Green Building Retrofits Group, which recently endorsed the Cleveland Emerald City project. Smith says the Alliance plans to ask Mayor Jackson to participate.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has committed all of its EEBG funds to a number of high profile projects, including the downtown bike station, replacing streetlights with LEDs, City Hall lighting retrofits, and the Energy $aver pilot project-energy audits and retrofitting 100 homes. That's not to say another group couldn't step in and, with the city's endorsement, fund and build a training program for municipal retrofits. In fact, Cleveland is part of a Solar Special Improvement District, and has the authority from state legislation to start an energy efficiency SID, but to generate capital and place liens private not public buildings would be necessary (as it happens, Apollo Alliance Seattle started a private building retrofits/local training program). Or, with the city's leadership, it could be the basis of a partnership with the proposed Greater Cleveland Energy Alliance.

The SC2019 Green Building Retrofits group's next meeting is on Thursday, April 14 at 8 am in the basement conference room of the Cleveland Environmental Center, 3500 Lorain Avenue. The agenda includes a review the Emerald Cities initiative.

See the Emerald Cities Cleveland draft proposal.

(Picture: Former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell at the Cleveland Environmental Center green retrofit groundbreaking in 2003). 

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