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Green jobs can sustain middle class

A worker cleans an assembled solar panel

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Vice President Joe Biden is in Philadelphia for the first meeting of his so-called middle-class task force. Today's focus will be raising standards of living by promoting jobs that help the environment. Ashley Milne-Tyte explains.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: How do green jobs and the middle class go together?

Mark Alan Hughes is Philadelphia's sustainability director. He says traditionally, a middle-class job was a stable job.

Mark Alan Hughes: And a key element of stability is to be part of a growing sector. That's the attraction of this so-called green jobs sector. That we're talking about renewable energy, and energy efficiency in buildings, that you're making a commitment to the jobs for which you train people.

He says the sector will grow fast in coming years, fuelled initially by government funding.

Suechada Poynter is a newly trained energy auditor in Philly. She earns $11 an hour.

Suechada Poynter: I start from the bottom and work my way up. But so far, it has been a big open door for me.

A door she expects many others to step through as people and businesses try to save money through energy conservation.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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