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[August 05, 2009]
Green Job Corps Provides Youth With Eco-Friendly Work [Grunion Gazette, Long Beach, Calif.]
(Grunion Gazette (Long Beach, CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 5--The Green Jobs Corps is coming to Long Beach following a vote by the City Council Tuesday night to authorize the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network to receive nearly $1 million to begin the program locally.
The California Green Job Corps was launched in March by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in order to provide career training in the state's emerging green economy for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24. According to a press release on the governor's Web site, www.gov.ca.gov, the corps will consist of a 20-month pilot program that will invest a total of $20 million to start at least 10 regional Green Corps throughout the state.
"In California we will utilize federal economic stimulus funds and public-private partnerships to help stimulate our economy while initiating actions to improve our environment," Sch-warzenegger said in the press release. "Green jobs are exactly what our economy and environment need right now -- and the California Green Corps targets that need while helping at-risk young adults realize a brighter future." Green career pathways consist of solar energy, recycling, green building and construction, water-efficient and drought-resistant landscaping, and community supported agricultural opportunities, said Kathy Parsons, spokeswoman for the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. The network serves Long Beach and other South Los Angeles County communities by providing resources, training and education for employers and those seeking jobs in high-demand careers.
Parsons said the Green Corps grant was submitted by the network on May 22 and the money was awarded to the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board on July 7. Youth services and training will begin in September.
In Long Beach, the Green Corps will be made up of 125 at-risk youth ages 17-24 who are interested in developing skills and gaining employment in green and eco-friendly industries, Parsons said.
"This is very much a community partnership project," Parsons said. "Three partners, Yard Farmers, California Western Arborists and the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission, are providing job training in drought tolerant landscaping and community supported agriculture, as well as community service projects." K.C. Nash, Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board manager, said the Green Corps is an excellent opportunity for youth to gain work experience in high-demand industries.
"We've been involved with identifying opportunities within the green sector for three years," Nash said. "There is great potential in this program because youth will be given direction in careers that will provide live-able wages and long-term benefits for the earth." James de Boer, landscape designer with The Yard Farmer, said youth will be learning how to install edible landscapes and drip irrigation systems in their work with his company.
"We want everyone to learn that you can grow produce and still have a nice yard," de Boer said.
Other partners in the Green Corps project include the Long Beach Unified School District, John Muir Charter School, Long Beach City College, El Camino College, Conservation Corps of Long Beach, the Long Beach Job Corps Center and the Long Beach Community Action Partnership.
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