Smart Growth America has partnered with Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) on a collaborative project to advance energy equity and economic inclusion in southwest Atlanta by providing both quantitative and policy analysis support focused on the emerging clean jobs sector and other climate and equity topics.
Climate change presents an urgent, existential threat to our communities and disproportionately impacts those who have been marginalized by racist land use, housing, and lending policies. In the face of insufficient action at the federal level*, some city and state governments are stepping up with sustainability and climate strategies to reduce emissions and support adaptation through land use and building strategies. Some of these policies have sought to embed economic and workforce development opportunities within climate action plans, creating opportunities for wealth-building and addressing climate and equity goals hand in hand.
The City of Atlanta is a great example of a city that has adopted policies, plans, and programs that prioritize the efficient use of energy, reducing polluting emissions, and preserving natural resources. The continued expansion of the clean economy in Atlanta represents a significant opportunity for the creation of entry-level jobs with upward mobility potential for individuals that have been historically excluded from pathways for wealth-building.
To take a closer look at Atlanta’s progress toward an inclusive clean economy, Smart Growth America (SGA) has partnered with Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) on a collaborative project to advance energy equity and economic inclusion in southwest Atlanta by providing both quantitative and policy analysis support focused on the emerging clean jobs sector and other climate and equity topics. Supported by the Kresge Foundation’s Climate Change, Health, and Equity (CCHE) initiative, the project focuses on advancing racial equity and shared prosperity in six zip codes in Atlanta that have been impacted disproportionately by environmental hazards and health disparities. Currently, residents in these neighborhoods have significantly lower incomes, employment rates, and educational attainment levels than residents city-wide, and according to The Brookings Institution 2019 report, nationwide,“…fewer than 20 percent of workers in the clean energy production and energy efficiency sectors are women, while Black workers fill less than 10 percent of these sector’s jobs.”
Based on quantitative analysis of clean economy market opportunities and their connectivity with Atlanta sustainability policies, SGA’s work has produced three products that support PSE and the communities they serve:
Growing a Clean Economy Report
Growing a Clean Economy: An Analysis of Equitable Employment Opportunities in Atlanta, GA
In this report, the SGA team assessed job opportunities within Atlanta’s emerging clean economy sectors and provides insight on potential workforce development strategies in the areas of energy efficiency, solar energy, and green infrastructure. The report demonstrates how local organizations and institutions can support community members, including those facing greater institutional barriers to high-paying jobs in the clean economy, and provides tips for employers seeking talent in these fields. You can also view the report in our StoryMap, which delivers the research, analysis, and findings of the report in a more concise and engaging online format.
Factsheets for Clean Economy Job Seekers
These factsheets support Atlanta’s current and future workers’ access to the growing clean economy. The continued expansion of the clean economy in Atlanta represents a significant opportunity for the creation of entry-level jobs with upward mobility potential for individuals that have been historically excluded from pathways for wealth-building.
The factsheets include information on jobs within the following clean economy sectors: (1) energy efficiency, (2) solar energy, and (3) green infrastructure. These factsheets were created with high schoolers and early-career professionals in mind.
Workforce Development Case Studies
These case studies highlight exemplary national initiatives where non-profit organizations and local governments across the country provide job training opportunities for youth, underrepresented minority groups, and individuals interested in workforce retraining/transition. Programs like these present examples of how Atlanta and other cities can scale investment and support the equitable implementation of workforce development policies. Check out the case studies here:
- Forest Park Conservancy Green Jobs Program
- Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
- Green Zone Environmental Program
- GRID Alternatives
PSE invites you to an information session on their Green Economy Initiative—a partnership with the NBA Foundation to increase diversity in the solar, energy efficiency, and green infrastructure fields in Metro Atlanta. PSE is seeking partners within academic institutions, thought leaders, and workforce service providers to attend to learn more about pathways to employment for youth in these growing fields, and how to leverage Factsheets for clean economy job seekers.
Register for an information session today using the links below!
Tuesday, August 23 – 4:30 PM EST: bit.ly/3PRZlhW
Wednesday, August 24 – 4:30 PM EST: bit.ly/3vwBcFw
Thursday, August 25 – 4:30 PM EST: bit.ly/3ScLLr7
If you have any questions, feel free to reach Sterling Johnson ([email protected]), Aaron Johnson ([email protected]), Denise Webb ([email protected]), and Michael MacMiller ([email protected]) for more info.