76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008
Miami

2008 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS

METRO ECONOMIES GREEN INITIATIVE: SUPPORTING EMERGING MODELS OF EXCELLENCE

WHEREAS, the Brookings Institution reports that the 100 largest

U.S. metropolitan areas contain 65 percent of the nation’s population and 68 percent of its jobs, generating three-quarters of the nation’s gross domestic product; and

WHEREAS, metro economies are reported to gather even larger shares of innovative activity (78 percent of U.S. patent activity), educated workers (75 percent of graduate degree holders), and critical infrastructure (79 percent of U.S. air cargo); and

WHEREAS, while employment within the manufacturing sector has remained relatively constant since 1950, manufacturing jobs now account for a significantly smaller percentage of the American workforce (31 percent of U.S. non-farm employment in 1950, as compared to just over 10 percent in 2007); and

WHEREAS, an increasingly competitive global workforce and multinational supply chains within traditional manufacturing industries continue to threaten American economic competitiveness abroad and basic job security and individual self-sufficiency throughout the nation; and

WHEREAS, projections from the U.S. Census demonstrate that non-Hispanic whites will represent less than half of the nation’s prime working-age (25 to 64) population with African Americans and Hispanics accounting for more than 90 percent of total growth in that age range during the next 40 years; and

WHEREAS, persons from these communities are largely concentrated in metropolitan areas and remain disproportionately affected by numerous challenges related to education, employment, and incarceration; and

WHEREAS, metro communities remain beset by disproportionate highschool dropout rates, with the EPE Research Center reporting that nearly 40 percent of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas suffer high school graduation rates below 50 percent; and

WHEREAS, minority student populations are particularly likely to demonstrate elevated high school dropout rates, with African American and Latino students demonstrating graduation rates below 60 percent nationally; and

WHEREAS, the Center for Labor Market Studies has reported that a black male high school dropout will on average receive nearly$190,000 more in government benefits than he will pay in pay rolland income taxes throughout the course of his work life; and

WHEREAS, programs intended to provide high school students unlikely to pursue baccalaureate study with a means to transition from secondary studies to high-skill employment are a vital means to provide these students with tools for lifelong self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, according to the National Institute of Literacy, 70% of all prisoners function at the lowest literacy levels and less than 32% of State prison inmates have a high school diploma or a higher level of education; and

WHEREAS, According to the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, nearly 650,000 – about 1, 600 a day – people are released from Federal and State incarceration into communities nationwide each year, with the majority of these individuals returning to the nation’s metro communities; and

WHEREAS, transitional jobs programs have proven to help individuals with criminal records to return successfully to the workplace and to the community, and therefore can reduce recidivism; and

WHEREAS, these programs, along with traditional technical training programs, and emerging green industries provide at-risk individuals within our nation’s metro communities with concrete opportunities for long-term economic self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, the American Solar Energy Society estimates that, in 2006 alone, more than 8 million Americans worked in green industries, generating $933 billion of revenue; and

WHEREAS, the Society further estimates that these industries can account for more than 40 million American jobs by 2030, generating over $4.5 trillion in annual revenue; and

WHEREAS, green industries promote employment opportunities that are necessarily local. As such, jobs within emerging green industries offer sustainable employment opportunities to Americans for decades to come, NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages Congress, through consideration of legislation addressing global climate change, to authorize programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development to target designated funding resources to metro communities meeting certain criteria to enable these communities to undertake model green industry economic and workforce development programs of excellence; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, among such programs, The U.S. Conference of Mayors will support federal efforts to authorize and fund the following initiatives:

  1. Metro Area Green Zones – to support exemplary low-carbon workforce and economic development efforts already underway throughout the nation and establish best practice data consistent with efforts to provide stable employment in emerging green industries to formerly incarcerated, low-income, and difficult-to-employ populations;

  2. The Metro Area Green Institute – to serve as a clearinghouse for low-carbon economic development efforts nationally, compiling and disseminating data gleaned through the Metro Area Green Zones program and providing technical assistance to local and municipal green job creation/workforce development programs throughout the country;

  3. Mini-Metro Green Grants – to expand and enhance the reach and relevance of activities undertaken by Metro Area Green Zones and the Metro Area Green Institute to ensure the robust participation of smaller, developing municipalities in low-carbon workforce and economic development; and,

  4. Alternative Green Academies – to enable local municipalities to partner with not-for-profit organizations, local education agencies, community and technical colleges, and trade associations, and local businesses to provide low-carbon job training, employment opportunities, and other life skills to high school dropouts, formerly incarcerated youth, and students for whom a 4-year higher education is either undesirable or impossible.