Ella Baker Center

The Ella Baker Center's Green-Collar Jobs Campaign is helping build California’s movement for green jobs that truly provide opportunity for all. We advocate for public policy that creates good, green jobs, especially for low-income communities and people of color.

Oakland, CA

The Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive.

The Green-Collar Jobs Campaign is helping build California's movement for a green-collar economy that truly provides opportunity for all. We advocate for the creation of "green-collar" jobs (quality, career-track, skilled, hands-on jobs in industries like renewable energy, water and energy efficiency, green building, habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, and more), especially for low-income communities and communities of color.

We do our work statewide in California, as well as in Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area.

Our work has "Three P's":

  • Partnerships: We build vibrant, cross-sector coalitions that include leaders from unions, green businesses, environmental organizations, social justice groups, and education and training institutions.
  • Policy: We craft -- and win -- cutting edge public policy solutions.
  • Pilot Programs: We champion groundbreaking demonstration projects that prove what's possible.

We believe California can lead the nation by building a strong, equitable, green economy. The Golden State must tackle major environmental threats -- like the climate crisis, water shortages, and some of the worst air pollution in the country. California is also troubled by poverty, over-incarceration, and an alarming high school dropout rate. We have people and ecosystems that are at-risk and in crisis. The good news? We also have bold solutions that can address both simultaneously. The Green-Collar Jobs Campaign advocates for public policy that can lead to a thriving green economy that creates good, green jobs. We also fight for strong systems of green job training and education, especially for those too often locked out of the old, pollution-, poison-, and poverty-based economy.

We believe that places like Oakland -- our hometown -- can unlock the potential for transforming blue-collar powerhouses into thriving green-collar cities. Oakland is consistently ranked as a "top ten green city," and at the same time, is known for violence and a struggling public school system. In Oakland and the East Bay, the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign anchors a vibrant, multi-sector coalition called the Oakland Apollo Alliance. With this coalition, we championed a local demonstration project — the Oakland Green Jobs Corps — to showcase job training that can provide "green pathways out of poverty." Our program is based on innovative research by Professor of Urban Studies at San Francisco State University, Raquel Pinderhughes. Her "Green Collar Jobs" model can be accessed online through her personal website.

Nationally, the Campaign played a central role winning the "pathways out of poverty" provision in the federal Green Jobs Act of 2007, which authorizes $125 million annually for green job training (and which inspired $500 million in related green job training funds in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

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