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Green Job Placements Lag

GAOJob placements resulting from federally funded green job training programs enacted since 2009 currently stand at around 55 percent of the target, according to a US Government Accountability Office analysis of US Department of Labor data.

The figures come from a GAO paper titled Labor’s Green Jobs Efforts Highlight Challenges of Targeted Training Programs for Emerging Industries. Currently just 40 percent of grantee organizations are reporting figures, meaning that 55 percent figure could change.

Grantees interviewed by the GAO were generally positive about the Labor Department’s green job training programs, but most said they had faced challenges during implementation including: a lack of reliable green jobs labor market information, insufficient time to meet grant requirements, knowledge gaps surrounding green skills and changing energy policies, and difficulty placing participants into green jobs, primarily due to the overall poor economy.

Of the $595 million identified by the Labor Department as having been appropriated or allocated specifically for green jobs activities since 2009, approximately $501 million went toward efforts with training and support services as their primary objective, with much of that funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the paper.

Because the Recovery Act directed federal agencies to spend funds quickly and prudently, the Labor Department implemented a number of high-investment green jobs efforts simultaneously. As a result, in some cases, Recovery Act training programs were initiated prior to a full assessment of the demand for green jobs, which presented challenges for grantees. While Labor’s internal agencies initially communicated with each other and with other federal agencies after the Recovery Act was passed, most Recovery Act grants have ended or are winding down, the report says.

In January, The White House rejected the idea of proposing a carbon tax, saying that the administration favored more action on green jobs instead. The administration’s climate agenda will be tied to spurring investment in renewable energy projects that create jobs, Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said at the time.

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