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The Wal-Mart Foundation said last week it would award to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Veterans Green Jobs grants totaling $5.7 million to support the creation of green jobs in the United States. The announcement came in the wake of a recently released Global Insight study finding that 10 percent of U.S. job growth is likely to be green by 2038, making it the fastest-growing sector in the country.
"We understand how important building a green work force is to the future of America, and the Wal-Mart Foundation is committed to helping create job growth that also sustains our environment," noted Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. "Realizing that one of the greatest barriers to creating green jobs is the lack of a trained work force, the Wal-Mart Foundation's grants will help break through this barrier and enable more American workers to be trained and ready to contribute in this growing sector."
The foundation's $5 million grant to the U.S. Conference of Mayors will go to create jobs in a range of emerging green industries. This spring, through a competitive selection process headed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, six grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations with a history of working with mayors to train people for green jobs. In early 2010, three additional grants will be given to cities with newer commitments to providing green work force training.
"Given that 85 percent of all green jobs are expected to be located in cities and their metro areas in the coming years, this grant could not come at a better time," said Manny Diaz, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and mayor of Miami, "which provides science-based environmental certification standards for products and services."
Additionally, the Wal-Mart Foundation is awarding nearly $750,000 to Veterans Green Jobs to develop four training sites that will help veterans gain green job training skills. Slated to be built in Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and Louisiana, the sites will enable many of the almost 2 million returned or returning military personnel to reintegrate into civilian life.