Friday, May 14, 2010

$234 Million and no jobs

Detroiter Mark Brisker had high hopes of securing a future as a green-collar worker. Michigan officials had touted green energy as a fast-growing employment sector and part of a fix for the state’s economic woes. An influx of federal funding and the creation of training programs in green trades, such as weatherizing homes, were intended to quickly grow the industry.

But five months after completing weatherization training offered by Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Brisker remains out of work. And jobs in this specialization, which focuses on improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings, have been slow to materialize.

“As of yet, very few — if any of the students — have found work,” said Brisker, 51, a former chemical plant worker. “Yet the schools are still cranking out graduates.”

Although the federal stimulus package earmarked $234 million to weatherize 3,000 low-income Michigan homes — about 10 times more than average — and create jobs, the money has been slow to trickle to contractors and other employers.

National Observer

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