The new year is upon us but unfortunately the unemployment crisis from 2010 has stuck around for the party. President Obama will continue to focus on improving the employment situation in 2011 and hopefully Congress will as well. While there is some question about the future of green jobs after the midterm elections, the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2011-2016 Strategic Plan includes expanding green jobs in the nation.

The report includes five main strategic goals

  1. Prepare workers for good jobs and ensure fair compensation
  2. Ensure workplaces are safe and healthy
  3. Assure fair and high-quality work-life environments
  4. Secure health benefits and, for those not working, provide income security
  5. Produce timely and accurate data on the economic conditions of workers and their families
The topic of green jobs comes is addressed in the first goal, prepare workers for good jobs and ensure fair compensation. One of the outcome goals to be measured in this category is to “assure skills and knowledge that prepare workers to succeed in a knowledge-based economy, including in high growth and emerging industry sectors like “green” jobs.”

The report goes on to include Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis’ definition of a good job. Secretary Solis presented this multipart definition of a good job during a Feb. 3, 2010 testimony in the U.S. House of Representatives, which included “a good job is sustainable and innovative, for example, a green job.”

Training programs provide workers with the skills that they need to secure one of these good green jobs. These programs can help provide many Americans with a pathway out of poverty and into the middle class. Although there are already funds set aside from the Recovery Act for green jobs training programs, the five year strategic plan includes more green job training opportunities for Americans. Of course the job market, as a whole, needs to recover but green jobs should be an important part of this recovery.

To learn more about how green jobs will be supported by the Department of Labor over the next five years, download the report in its entirety: U.S. Department of Labor Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2011-2016 (PDF).