Using stimulus money, cities and states have adopted so-called “green jobs” programs.
How is that working out? Not so well…
Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy – able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint – and the announcement came with great fanfare.
McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.
But more than a year later, Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.
$20 million for 14 jobs. But at least the money is going to the lower-income residents who truly need help, right? At least there isn’t any cronyism going on. Oh, wait…
The buildings that have gotten financing so far include the Washington Athletic Club and a handful of hospitals, a trend that concerns community advocates who worry the program isn’t helping lower-income homeowners.