I’ve seen a lot of negative talk about green jobs crop up again over the past week. The infamous Spanish green jobs study is once again seeing a resurgence in anti-green jobs media stories as the reason why a push for a green economy will fail here in the United States. Although the Spanish green jobs study was debunked, it is still the basis of the anti-green jobs rally cry.
One story of the many that I’ve read focused on individuals that have received green jobs training, thanks to the government-subsidized programs, but are still out of work. The story, which appeared on The Washington Post website, looks at a green jobs training program in Ocala, Florida.
Florida is one of a handful of states that have been hit excessively hard by the recent recession. In October 2010, the unemployment rate in the state was 11.9 percent. This is well above the national average of 9.6 percent. So while employment training opportunities, whether they are focused on green jobs or not, are welcome by unemployed Floridians the state economy isn’t able to create a supply of new jobs to meet the demand created by newly trained workers.
According to The Washington Post article, 75 percent of the first 100 graduates from a green jobs training program in Ocala have been unable to find employment, including 56 year-old Laurance Anton.
"I think I have put in 200 applications," said Anton, who exhausted his unemployment benefits months ago and now relies on food stamps and his dwindling savings to survive. "I'm long past the point where I need some regular income." Source: The Washington Post
While Anton has a host of new marketable skills, the job market in the region isn’t strong enough to provide employment opportunities to Anton and his fellow classmates. Unfortunately this is turning out to be a green jobs issue instead of simply a jobs issue.
Completing a green jobs training program doesn’t guarantee a job, just like completing any jobs training program won’t guarantee the student a job. Advancing your skill set is important, especially with so much competition for jobs, but until the jobless crisis begins to improve many Americans are left without a job where they can apply their newly learned skills.
With a dismal 2011 unemployment forecast, it may be a long time before these workers can put their skills to good use – whether they were obtained through a green jobs training program or not.