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Councilmember Lightner: Go green and stimulate the economy

San Diego Councilmember Sherri Lightner called on the Mayor and City Council to immediately prioritize growing the local economy by supporting and promoting the expansion of the green workforce and the emerging green/clean tech industry.

“We must seize every opportunity to put more people to work and support the growing green/clean tech industry in San Diego that needs a skilled workforce,” said Lightner.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s office announced on May 1 that applications are now being accepted for the new California Green Jobs Corps to provide at-risk youth (16 to 24 years of age) with job skills and work opportunities in emerging green jobs. Each program needs to include a partnership with either the local workforce investment board or community college, as well as a nonprofit and a local employer.

The state’s new program was based on the innovative Green Jobs Corps program that non-profits, educational institutions and the City of Oakland launched in 2007. This program is training people for the skills needed for the emerging green/clean tech industry.

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In addition to her budget recommendations, Lightner said, “I am asking Mayor Sanders to develop a plan and timeline to immediately begin work with the Council in partnership with local agencies to submit an application to the State for a San Diego Green Jobs Corps grant.”

“The Green Jobs Corps grant is just one opportunity to bring in additional resources to put more people back to work and support the green/clean tech industry, which could be San Diego’s next economic engine,” said Lightner. “I believe the City needs to make economic development a priority in this year’s budget and prioritize resources to attract and support businesses, especially in the green/clean tech industry.”

Lightner is making several recommendations that prioritize economic development, especially in the green/clean tech industry. Specifically, she recommends utilizing some Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) dollars for economic development and to attract businesses and emerging industries like clean/green tech to San Diego.

She also recommends that the Council create a new Economic Development Committee to actively work with stakeholders and the Mayor to develop and monitor the city’s economic development with a focus on green and clean tech industry.

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“We need a Council Committee that is visible and responsive to the community, said Lightner. “In this economic environment, it is important to have a committee dedicated to economic development that is ready to move quickly and will thoroughly investigate all opportunities.”