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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Good, Green, Safe Jobs: The Los Angeles Green Retrofit and Workforce Program


On April 8, 2009, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to the Los Angeles Administrative Code establishing the Green Retrofit and Workforce Program. The Ordinance will lead to green retrofits of more than 1,000 city buildings and a workforce development policy that creates career pathways into good, green, safe jobs, targeting those in low-income neighborhoods.

The result of a two-year campaign, the Ordinance was developed by the Los Angeles Apollo Alliance, convened by Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) in 2006 and comprised of more than 25 local community, labor and environmental organizations within the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Apollo Alliance put forth the Green Jobs Ordinance in an effort to locally meet environmental and economic development goals set out by the New Apollo Program, a national program intended to increase the clean energy economy and decrease energy bills for families and business. Nationwide, buildings account for almost three-quarters of electricity consumed and over a third of overall energy use. They contribute an estimated 38% of carbon dioxide emissions, leaving a large carbon footprint in urban areas. Locally, the Ordinance is in line with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 2007 Green LA Climate Action Plan designed to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles to 35 percent below their 1990 levels by 2030.

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