LCLAA recognizes the importance of creating new jobs that are also sustainable. Green jobs provide employment to Latinos while also being of service to the environment. According to the United Nations Environment Program, Green jobs are defined as “work in agriculture, manufacturing, research and development, administrative, and service activities that contributes substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution” This means that any job that helps preserve the environment is considered a green job or a clean-energy job.
Examples of green jobs include, but are not limited to, work in the following fields: solar energy, wind power, the electric car industry, and certain sectors of the construction industry. These “environmentally friendly” fields can be beneficial to the Latino community in a myriad of ways.
LCLAA encourages its members to become informed about and support green jobs. Currently, 3.1 million workers are employed in the green jobs sector. LCLAA has a unique opportunity to encourage unionization in this growing field thereby strengthening the voice for workers’ rights. Furthermore, due to the nature of the work, green jobs are not easily outsourced and therefore are a source of employment to Latinos who are seeking work.
The economic crisis hit the Latino community harder than other minorities in the country. About 10% of the total unemployment comes from Latinos. Latinos who are strongly represented in trades such as construction are primed to enter the workforce via green jobs which rely heavily on skills construction and engineering workers have already obtained. The green construction sector alone has 2.5 million job vacancies.
Furthermore, between 1998 and 2007 the clean-energy industry grew 9.1 percent, 5.4 percent more than the overall job growth. Green jobs are also accessible as 870,000 of the 1.7 million new green jobs could be available to workers with a high school degree or less. Through green jobs, the Latino community has a unique opportunity to improve their quality of life while also improving the community around them.