Expanding Green Opportunity for the Formerly Incarcerated
As the clean energy economy grows, we must constantly seek ways to ensure equal and fair access to jobs and opportunity, especially for those who are too often left out and left behind. With billions of dollars of federal stimulus money, as well as major other investments of funding and public policy from state and federal programs, the weatherization industry is set to grow rapidly. We must work to ensure equity and access in this industry.
At the Ella Baker Center, while our overall organizational strategy paints a picture of “Green Jobs, Not Jails,” the individual elements of our work do not always bridge the divide. Expanding Opportunity: Employing the Formerly Incarcerated in the Green Economy, a new report, makes a strong link between the two. This report provides the necessary information to enable efficient and equitable hiring of people with criminal records using Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds.
As the introduction to the report says, “This paper fills an important void by clearly explaining the laws regulating who can access these jobs, particularly as it pertains to people with criminal records, a population that faces significant barriers to securing employment. Due to fears, concerns regarding liability, blatant acts of discrimination, and plain confusion, people with criminal records struggle with successfully finding steady and meaningful employment, thus making reintegrating into society especially difficult. Yet, they are hardly the only ones hurt by these systemic failures. Their families and the communities where they reside also suffer.”
If you have your hands on the weatherization industry, or know someone who does – or if you just plain care about the green economy and social equity – then take a look.
Big shout-outs to Madeline Neighly and Maurice Emsellem at NELP, and Ruben Lizardo and Marc Philpart at PolicyLink for their wonderful work and partnership on this effort.
Feb 22, 2013
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