Chicago Announces Creation of Green Jobs Using Recovery Act Funds

The City has used $16 million received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment program to create more than 650 “green” jobs for formerly-incarcerated individuals, Mayor Richard M. Daley said last week.

“It is impossible to overstate how important the federal economic stimulus program has been in helping Chicago kick start our economy, fix our infrastructure, better train our workers and get as many people back to work as we can over the short and long terms,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Center for Green Technology.

In partnership with the non-profit groups Breaking Ground and the Safer Foundation, the city is using $4.6 million for a two-year program to provide job training and temporary jobs for about 140 formerly-incarcerated persons to take part in a new building “deconstruction” work program. When deconstructed, as we wrote about in the past, buildings are taken down in an environmentally sound way, as opposed to demolished, so that the building’s materials can be reused, recycled or diverted from landfills in some other manner. The Boeing Company provided a two-year grant to the Chicago Workforce Investment Council to bring a leading deconstruction expert to Chicago to help Chicago build a market for deconstruction in the future.

The city is using over $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for a two-year neighborhood clean-up initiative that will provide about 230 year-round jobs and job-training services to Chicago’s hard-to-employ populations, with an emphasis on the formerly incarcerated. The workers will gain practical experience and marketable skills in vegetation control, debris removal and the cleaning of neighborhood commercial strips.

Additional funding will help create 190 jobs in its existing Greencorps program, which provides training programs in waste reduction, pollution prevention, community horticulture and sustainable landscaping. The city will create another 80 jobs through the “Community Green Jobs” program, which works through existing community organizations and agencies to place worker in green businesses.

“Especially in this difficult economy it is critical that we work to create and retain good jobs for today and lay the foundation for the jobs of tomorrow,” Daley said. “That’s why the City and its partners are actively supporting existing businesses that want to green their products and services, working to attract new green businesses to Chicago, and providing key training opportunities so that all Chicagoans have the opportunity to access green jobs.”

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