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More browns going green

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green_jobs_handprintMore Latinos are being hired for “green-collar jobs” as the green-energy industry grows, according to a new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). The report points out that cleaner electricity-generating methods, such as solar and wind, are fueling the rapidly growing green economy, which is being driven “by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, and enhance energy and resource efficiency.” 

In Arizona, environmental activists are advocating for green energy to replace the harmful air and ground emissions issued by the coal-burning Navajo Generating Plant near Page. In addition, both Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS) utility corporations say they are investing in more green-energy technology for a sustainable future. 

The NCLR report centered on the link between this rapidly emerging market and Latinos, the country’s fastest growing segment of U.S. workers. Latinos will make up an estimated 18 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2018, and 33 percent by 2050. The increase in green jobs has risen to 3.1 million positions, a hike of almost double any other category of employment during the recent recession.

Green jobs, such as installing solar panels and building facilities for wind-energy towers, tend to pay 13 percent more than other industries and do not yet require higher education degrees. As the report emphasizes, “It is in the interest of the country to align the fastest growing workforce with the fastest growing industries.” 

A poll conducted by NCLR and the Sierra Club in late 2012 showed 87 percent of Latinos would prefer to work in clean energy jobs. That same survey also showed that Latinos overwhelmingly agree that clean-energy solutions will create more jobs; 86 percent of Latinos would prefer the U.S. government to invest in renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels; and nearly six in ten Latinos are willing to pay more each month on their electricity bill if their electricity comes from clean sources.  

The NCLR report advises Latinos to seek more information on the green-job opportunities that clean-energy solutions will create as more cities adopt the green-economy concept. 

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