Chicago Green Jobs

Stimulus Bill: Funding Environmentalism 1.0
March 6, 2009, 4:48 am
Filed under: Stimulus Bill

So I spent some time with Pro Publica’s line by line breakdown of the spending provisions in the stimulus bill, and discovered all kinds of fun facts about the green spending in the stimulus bill. While we wait for Mayor Daley to share his plans for our share of the stimulus money with the class, let’s take a look!

There’s lots of info here, so I’m breaking it up into categories for ease of use. Today’s topic: It turns out that Environmentalism 1.0 – the old school seventies kind with the tree hugging – got a nice slice of the green spending pie.  The green energy and high speed rail projects got the headlines along with the bulk of the green spending, but by my calculations $14.5 billion of the stimulus went to important but less glamorous restoration and conservation work. What does that mean for jobs? Let’s go to the data, after the jump!

I’ve dropped in the list of projects and their funding amounts here, lest the list of numbers in the body of the text cause your eyes to cross and your will to read to waver. The big ticket items on this list fall into two categories: environmental clean-up and keeping our drinking water safe. Well, Chicago’s got plenty of brownfields and if some of that $100 million in stimulus funding comes to us, we’ll be ready. Local job training organization OAI received a grant in January to train 60 people in brownfields cleanup.

Here are the details on just what that job training entails from the grant announcement:  “The training program will consist of two nine-month cycles totaling 210 hours of training, including 40-hour HAZWOPER, OSHA lead abatement, construction safety, asbestos worker training, mold awareness, defensive driving, and forklift operator.” According to their site, OAI works with disadvantaged populations to ensure that everyone who wants a good job has access to the training. In other words, land rehabilitation has real potential to be a green job in the Biden Task Force sense of the word.

What about jobs in the safe drinking water sector? Well, there used to be a site called “ – The Job Reservoir, ” but alas, they are no more. It’s not a good sign when a job board shuts down. Fortunately, has a list of open water jobs near Chicago. Titles include Water/Waste Water Engineer, Sales Specialist, and Technical Service Specialist A quick glance at the requirements show that they take the term “specialist” seriously – these jobs tend to require 3-5 years of experience at the minimum and some advanced training – even the sales job. It’s not clear if Chicago has any projects around drinking water, but if we do then those jobs will go to the pros.

Tune in next time for the skinny on high speed rail funding!


3 Comments so far
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So, what’s a HAZWOPER?

Comment by masaccio

A HAZWOPER sounds like the world’s least healthy burger, but it stands for “Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.” The HAZWOPER standards lay out the health and safety requirements companies have to meet in order to do brownfield clean-ups or any other kind of hazardous waste management.

Comment by keylerwerve

The big news, of course, is the $8 billion for high speed rail, most of which came from out of nowhere. And I’d be quite pleased with that number if it weren’t for the meager sum allocated to transit. Of the four categories cited above, transit is the only one to emerge from conference committee without any bump up from the Senate’s lowball offer.

Comment by utah water damage

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