The Green-Collar Wave: High Tide for Van Jones

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 11:24.



Those following the race for the Democratic presidential nomination closely enough to understand the main tenets of each candidate's economic agenda can surely appreciate the importance of green-collar workforce development as a vital economic development and community development opportunity.  The buzz around sustainability seems to have reached a crescendo these days, and a legion of local eco-activists has much cause to feel much vindication as a result.  The word is really getting out!  To borrow from Gestalt philosophy, raising awareness is the critical first step necessary to move any system to the point of meaningful action.  It would really behoove our communities to prepare intelligently for this inevitable time with sound research and due diligence. This is the time to look to the most charismatic, capable, and cogent leaders and follow their example.

In the realm of green workforce development and its potential for integrative impact in terms of economy, environment, and social justice Van Jones shines as just such a leader.

My first intimate exposure to Van and his work came two years ago, as part of the planning team for the first Cleveland Bioneers conference last fall.  He was perhaps one of the most anticipated speakers of the conference, and for good reason.  His ground breaking work with projects in Oakland and the South Bronx in facilitating green collar job training opportunities for the underprivileged has built the foundation for widespread impact.   His stories justify and punctuate the importance of purpose, passion, and perserverance in making positive social change.  These communities have been able to shine as first movers due to the successful creative and collective collaborations that coalesced under his leadership.

I've followed the recent progress with these integrated environmental and social justice efforts with much interest on the Green for All site.  In a week's time a historic conference will convene in Memphis on the 40th anniversary of the assasination of Martin Luther King, Jr to further propel the green-collar movement and opportunities for the underprivileged.  It should be an incredibly inspirational experience. 

Jones and his organization, Green for , have compiled a particularly illuminating document detailing best practices from their experiences and these fundamentals, I feel, would be invaluable to frame the work we envision in communities like East Cleveland.  Lead abatement is a high priority for these bioneers and well understood as a crippling reality in many underprivileged communities.   The suggestions regarding key players to include in the collaborative conversations and coalitions needed for success apply perfectly well for our region and the opportunities to empower all interested NEO residents to fill the many anticipated openings.   Please take a look at this document and contribute to the discussion on applying these uplifting development strategies here regionally. 

 I sincerely hope our local leaders do the same.

gcjobsamericascities.pdf1.46 MB
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$1 million grant to Mansfield company could mean 200 new local j

News Journal staff report

MANSFIELD -- A $1 million state grant might enable a Mansfield company to eventually create as many as 200 jobs.

Energy Technologies Inc., 219 Park Avenue East, will be awarded the grant through the Ohio Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program, Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher said this week.

The company received the grant for its development of a "robust fuel cell generator for a military applications project," according to Fisher's statement.

"Energy Technologies Inc., will deliver a fully functional 1.5 kW tactical fuel cell power plant prototype that includes the fuel cell module, replaceable and refillable hydrogen fuel canisters, power electronics, military-spec packaging, all subcomponents, and application and operation manuals," Fisher said.

"It's something we've worked pretty hard on," said Tim Lowe, vice president of sales at Energy Technologies, said Wednesday.

The 15-year-old company first applied last year, according to Lowe. In addition to a power line for the military, the company also provides products to telecommunications, industrial and medical sectors.

Lowe said the power plant has been in the works for 2 1/2 years and was demonstrated in February at a large military show in San Diego. He offered the example that soldiers could place the power plant in the back of a Humvee to power computers.

In addition, Fisher said, "Energy Technologies intends to establish a new Ohio-based business named Tactical Fuel Cells, in which they will work with Michigan-based fuel cell manufacturer Energy Conversion Devices to produce fuel cell generation sets in the 2 to 10 kW range."

Lowe, who also works in engineering and research and development, said the company employs fewer than 70 people. The grant will allow it to develop manufacturing, taking it from a hand-built prototype to finding components to an assembly line. He said the focus was to create jobs in Mansfield and other areas of Ohio. That could mean 10 jobs initially and eventually as many as 200 positions, he said.

The company will be able to apply for a grant again next year.

The grant to Energy Technologies was part of more than $8.9 million in grants awarded to 12 entities for the advancement of fuel cell research and production in Ohio. They are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs statewide, including positions here.

"Strategic investments from Ohio's Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program have established our state as a global leader in fuel cell innovations," said Fisher, who also serves as director of the Ohio Department of Development and chair of the Third Frontier Commission. "The investments made today will provide additional opportunities for the development and deployment of fuel cell technologies and will continue to spur economic growth in this important industry."

Created in 2002, the Ohio Fuel Cell Initiative is a $103 million program that aims to spur job creation in Ohio while positioning the state as a national leader in the growing fuel cell industry.

The initiative is an integral part of the Third Frontier Project, a $1.6 billion high-tech research program.


I don't know if this is good or bad

My Third Frontier money is being spent on military applications... Ohio grants and energy tax incentives for individuals to reduce electric grid consumption are being eliminated... we are entering a new dark age in Ohio, covered in coal soot. I haven't read one word about advanced energy in Ohio that impresses me in the slightest. Is there any real news here? It seems we need to start shopping for a new Gov, who isn't lead and mercury poisoned.

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