Grants totaling $1.35 million that are dedicated to creating jobs in Philadelphia’s burgeoning green tech industry were pledged by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Friday, according to the organization’s press release.
“I expect Philadelphia will be the nation’s capital of green jobs,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. “Whether you have a GED or a Ph.D., there is a green job for you.”
The grants include a series of new initiatives, like the proposed John S. and James L. Knight Green Jobs Training Center, which will focus on moving low-skilled workers into higher-paying careers focused on green technology. It is scheduled to open in 2010, to be run by the city’s Energy Coordinating Agency and funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Miami-based foundation. The center is planned to be a 20,000 square-foot hub for the best green tech training providers in the country.
The announcement came on the same day Vice President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia to discuss leveraging growing green economies to offer better paying jobs.
Other grant initiatives include a citywide green jobs apprenticeship program designed by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and funded by a $125,000 Knight Foundation planning grant. The proposed Green Jobs Corps will focus on matching basic skills training with an employer’s need and look to connect local green companies to the Philadelphia region’s workforce.
The Nutter administration is hoping to fulfill a campaign promise to leave Philly better poised to be a major player in the country’s green technology industry. The federal stimulus package included billions for green tech, some of which comprised a portion of Philadelphia’s healthy tech check from the stimulus.
The Knight Foundation offers funds to support journalism and the communities in which its Knight brother namesakes once owned newspapers. Their now-defunct newspaper arm, Knight Ridder, formerly owned the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.