The Model for Green Jobs from the Stimulus Bill…Really?

By March 2, 2009Economy, Energy

On Thursday, the White House blog previewed the Philadelphia meeting of the Adminstration’s Middle-Class Task Force with this post, “Green job spotlight: Energy auditor“:

Green jobs are going to be one of the primary ways the middle class benefits from the economic recovery. That’s why they’re the focus of the Middle Class Task Force’s first meeting tomorrow, in Philadelphia.

But even though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was just signed, there are previews of the impact all over the country.

The Philadelphia Inquirer today profiles Suechada Poynter, a 39-year-old woman who is a home energy auditor — she checks for air leaks and improperly functioning furnaces to make buildings more energy efficient — exactly the kind of job the ARRA will create:

“Green jobs have opened a lot of doors for a lot of lower-class people to get into this field,” said Poynter, a Thai immigrant and mother of seven who lives in Philadelphia’s Logan section and earns $11 an hour for her work.

“”I’d tell him to open more doors to get more people into this field,” she said. Passionate about the environment, she is studying architecture in college. “This is just the beginning of a bigger door,” she said.

Thing is, Ms. Poynter works for the Energy Coordinating Agency, a non-profit corporation. Worthy, socially useful work, but…

Are jobs with non-profits really the model on which to build a strong, resilient economy? How much stimulus does one get if “home energy auditor” is “exactly the kind of job the ARRA will create?”

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