Vice President Joe Biden is the chairperson of the Middle Class Task Force, which is designed to help ensure that the middle class emerges from this recession. Last week, Vice President Biden released the first annual report. In a press conference, Biden discussed several future proposals including ways to help families deal with child care costs, supporting families of children with disabilities, providing student loan payment relief, and enhancing the security of our nation’s retirement system.
While his speech looked forward to the coming year, the annual report reflected on the past year as well. Included in the Middle Class Task Force Annual Report was a section dedicated to green jobs.
“Connecting the American middle class to opportunities in the clean energy sector is a critical component of this Administration’s economic strategy The extension of the Section 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit discussed above is only one piece of our agenda in this area; the Administration’s commitment to green jobs also includes the other historic investments in clean energy that we made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as an unprecedented inter-agency commitment to working together to remove barriers to the growth of green industries.” Source: Annual Report of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class (PDF)
In the February 2009 meeting of the task force, green jobs were discussed as a way to provide a pathway out of poverty and into the middle class for millions of under and unemployed American workers. Data from the White House Council on Economic Advisers (CEA) was used to support this statement.
The CEA analyzed data prior to the initial task force meeting. The results of their analysis show that there is a 10 to 20 percent wage premium for green jobs than similar jobs in a non-green industry. One example shows that wind turbine welders earned approximately 13.5 percent more than welders in general.
Last October, the task force released its Recovery Through Retrofit report. The report discusses how Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency retrofits can help support a stronger middle class. The report identified several barriers to a national retrofit market as well as steps that the government can take to overcome these barriers.
Although Vice President Biden’s speech on the first year of the Middle Class Task Force did not go into detail about the importance of green jobs, green jobs are undoubtedly one of the task force’s primary objectives.
For more information about how the Middle Class Task Force is helping our nation move towards a clean energy economy, download the annual report (PDF).