The City has used $16 million received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment program to create more than 650 “green” jobs for formerly-incarcerated individuals, Mayor Richard M. Daley said today.
“It is impossible to overstate how important the federal economic stimulus program has been in helping Chicago kick start our economy, fix our infrastructure, better train our workers and get as many people back to work as we can over the short and long terms,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd.
The Mayor said that Chicago has tried to lead by example on a number of issues that present a great challenge to cities every day, two of the greatest of which are the environment and the re-entry into the community of formerly incarcerated people.
“I am proud of the fact that we’ve worked day by day to make Chicago the most environmentally-friendly city in the nation, and I am proud that Chicago is one of the few cities to focus on the challenges of prisoner re-entry in a comprehensive way,” Daley said.
With the support of the federal economic stimulus program, Chicago has been able to take important steps forward on both these issues, he said.
Daley outlined the following initiatives:
In this program, city-owned buildings are taken down in an environmentally sound way that salvages the materials for re-use in the building industry. Breaking Ground is already training 32 workers, who soon will be traveling daily to work sites where they are removing nails and salvaging lumber from dilapidated buildings. The program not only provides income and job training to the workers, but also helps create a new green “deconstruction” industry to Chicago.
The Boeing Company, as part of the City’s ongoing Recovery Partnership with Chicago’s philanthropic community, provided a two-year grant to the Chicago Workforce Investment Council to bring a leading deconstruction expert to Chicago to help the City design this program and to help Chicago build a market for deconstruction in the future.
This funding will help create 190 jobs in its existing Greencorps program, which provides training programs in waste reduction, pollution prevention, community horticulture and sustainable landscaping and another 25 participants in a similar year-round program with the Safer Foundation, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and the New Communities Program at LISC.
And it will create 80 jobs in the City’s “Community Green Jobs” program, which works through existing community organizations and agencies to place worker in green businesses that help to promote energy efficiency, reduced waste and pollution through recycling, community greening and other green initiatives.
“Especially in this difficult economy it is critical that we work to create and retain good jobs for today and lay the foundation for the jobs of tomorrow,” Daley said.
“That’s why the City and its partners are actively supporting existing businesses that want to green their products and services, working to attract new green businesses to Chicago, and providing key training opportunities so that all Chicagoans have the opportunity to access green jobs.
“And it’s why we are committed to ensuring that these opportunities are connected to those Chicagoans who need a second chance,” he said.
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