Mayor Rybak says federal stimulus plan would create local green jobs in Minneapolis now
New initiative would create green jobs to weatherize homes
February 2, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) -- Mayor R.T. Rybak today called on Congress to adopt the federal economic recovery plan being promoted by President Obama, saying that the creation or loss of thousands of jobs is at stake.
"Today I stand with mayors from across the country to urge members of Congress to pass President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and pass it now," Mayor Rybak said. "This plan will create jobs, stimulate the economy and rebuild our infrastructure to compete in the global economy of the 21st Century."
"As centers for innovation and job creation, cities like Minneapolis need these resources and stand ready to implement efforts to create jobs, including jobs for a new, green economy," Rybak said. "Because President Obama is pushing for transit investments and green jobs as part of this plan, not only can we re-build our nation’s crippling transportation infrastructure, we can also build a new green economy for the future and finally get off our addiction to oil."
Green Jobs Now for a Growing Green Economy
One of the goals of the President’s economic recovery plan is to prepare workers for new green jobs, including training for retrofitting buildings, green construction and production of renewable energy.
Mayor Rybak announced today that Minneapolis is ready to use funds from a federal stimulus to launch an innovative new initiative to create dozens of green jobs by training workers to weatherize as many as 800 homes in Minneapolis. In addition to creating new green jobs and training workers quickly, the $3.3 million green jobs initiative would reduce energy costs for low- and moderate-income residents, thus reducing a significant household expense.
"Weatherization programs offer one of the best opportunities for job creation in Minneapolis," City of Minneapolis Economic Development Director Cathy Polasky said. "Turning existing homes into energy-efficient homes will reduce energy consumption and emissions, create dozens of jobs, and boost local industries. At a time when many construction workers are unemployed, this effort would help many people rapidly transition back into the labor force. Due to our climate and the condition of our housing stock, Minneapolis has a tremendous need for weatherization services that could be met with this effort."
Mayor Rybak and Ms. Polasky announced the green jobs weatherization initiative today at Summit Academy OIC, a nonprofit educational and vocational training center based in Minneapolis. In addition to Summit Academy, the City of Minneapolis is working with Minneapolis Community and Technical Collage and the Center for Energy and the Economy to implement the training initiative.
Preserving Public Safety Gains
Mayor Rybak said that, in addition to creating new jobs, he hoped federal economic recovery funds would also help large cities like Minneapolis meet needs in public safety, education and other critical public services as President Obama has proposed.
"With states like ours facing deep budget deficits, federal aid to cities would help to keep more cops on the street and teachers in the classroom," Mayor Rybak said.
"With crime falling for two years in a row in Minneapolis, now is not the time to relent in our fight to keep our neighborhoods safe. With our public schools on the cusp of aggressive reform, now is not the time to relent in our effort to ensure our kids graduate ready for their future."
Urgent Investments Needed
Each day without a federal stimulus, thousands more Americans become unemployed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 3.6 million since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, an average of 9,091 per day.
Each day without a federal stimulus, thousands more jobs are lost. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.6 million American jobs were lost in 2008, an average of 7,123 per day.
A job growth and economic recovery package was approved by the U.S. House last week and awaits action by the U.S. Senate this week.
Published Feb. 2, 2009