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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 10:03am

Georgia Nets Green Jobs

A $300,000 federal grant is going to an Atlanta organization to help train low-income residents for jobs and careers connected to the environment. It’s the latest government money headed to Georgia with hopes of spurring development in the green industry.

The money is a portion of more than $6 million dispersed nationwide by the Enviromental Protection Agency, a part of President Obama’s green job creation initiative.

The Atlanta grant aims to train residents in some of the city's low-income neighborhoods for jobs in environmental cleanup.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson says eventually, training more people in other Georgia communities can spur economic development and add even more jobs.

“Georgia like other states has its share of significant historic legacy contamination that’s gone on for years and years...there’s no shortage of need. The legacy of those sites is often what holds back development inside the core of a city.”

And Jackson says in a longer-term view of the green industry, this grant money is a boost in another way.

“Some of these people may decide to go into business and open-up their own recycling firms...there’s money to be made. So it’s an economic driver, but you first have to start at the base of the pyramid, which is to train a workforce of people who are qualified and capable of doing it.”

A report last year from Georgia labor officials estimated the state could create 50,000 green jobs in the next five five years - work across a wide range of education levels and pay grades.