Pelosi pitches green message in SF

March 7, 2009 5:47:31 PM PST
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks going green is the key to helping California out of its spiraling unemployment. She met with local leaders Saturday to explain her plan.

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Some people are questioning just how many people it will help.

Pelosi personally delivered the message from Washington to green industry leaders in San Francisco Saturday.

"We had the industrial revolution. We had the technological revolution. Now, we have the green revolution," she said.

It is a revolution backed by stimulus dollars that brings with it green jobs, and lots of them.

In a time when San Francisco's unemployment rate is at eight percent, getting even a portion of the $500 million the feds promise to give to green job creation in the U.S. will help.

"This kind of strategy of green jobs will go a long ways toward the rehabilitation of communities that have been chronically distressed," said City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

In the city's Western Addition the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center will get federal dollars to install solar panels, and those doing the work will be local. But, there is concern over who will have real access to those much needed jobs.

"I think the fear is how that money will trickle down to the poor," said Caz Pereira, Executive Director of The Growth Sector.

According to job advocates in San Francisco, training for the average green collar job, like solar panel installation, takes three to six months. And, time is not always something the unemployed can afford.

Professor Raquel Pinderhughes of San Francisco State is worried the most needy job applicants might not even have the tools to compete for green jobs. She says this just is not fair.

"Some of the stimulus dollars have to be devoted to the soft skills, basic skills and academic literacy training that people so desperately need. Because, if they can't read, write, use computers, do elementary math, they won't be able to work in the green economy," she said.

Labor researchers say half of San Francisco's poor or chronically unemployed do in fact have below average math and reading skills.

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