New grant to focus on creating green jobs in the Austin area

Downtown Austin skyline file photo

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin Innovation Office, Equity Office, Sustainability Office, and Economic Development Department have teamed up and created a grant that will promote green jobs across Austin.

The Equitable Green Jobs Grant will focus on researching how to promote the growth of green jobs while designing ways to close the gap on workforce development approaches for communities of color in green job sectors. Green jobs aim to improve human well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Austin zip codes where 20% or more of the population makes 200% or less of the federal poverty level (Austin city website)

Discussions about equitable pathways to green jobs and building relationships with community-based organizations and potential green job employers are also important parts of the grant. 

The three things the city hope to learn through the research are how to close the gap on workforce development approaches for communities of color, catalyzing pathways through partnerships and ideas and how to better understand Austin’s green jobs sector.

According to Brookings Institution researchers, the average hourly wages in green energy sector jobs are eight to 19% higher than the national average. They also found a $5 to $10 hourly pay difference in entry-level green jobs compared to other entry-level jobs.  

The bond’s research will focus on people making up to 200% of the federal poverty level around Austin. The city said on the grant’s website “Racial equity is the condition when race no longer predicts a person’s quality of life outcomes in our community. The City recognizes that race is the primary determinant of social equity, and therefore we begin the journey toward social equity with this definition.”

Applications for the grant are due at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Research and pathway grants will be awarded sums ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

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