Overview of Problem:
The type of jobs most community leaders talk about creating fall into two categories: service and biotech. The people we are trying to create employment for do not gravitate toward service jobs and these jobs rarely pay a living wage. Jobs in biotech are generally beyond the educational reach of these citizens. Therefore the type of jobs we advocate for would be “hands-on” employment: construction, manufacturing, artisan, etc.
This creates an additional problem as most of these jobs are market driven and there is argument that there are already enough people in some of these trades. There is also the additional problem of manufacturing jobs moving to other countries. We would need to discover a field in which demand is increasing (and will continue to increase) in which Rochester could become a leading city.
Therefore, the Green Party of Monroe County Calls for the City of Rochester to use resources it currently has, while looking for additional resources, to establish businesses that manufacture, sell and help provide funding for renewable energy sources for homes and businesses. The businesses created would:
- Be located in the City, preferably inhabiting already empty structures that are appropriately zoned.
- With the exception of the few necessary experts, all employees of these businesses should be current city residents, with an appropriate number of people hired from the constituency we are here to help.
- The business created must be locally owned.
- The Green Party would prefer to see these businesses be worker-owned. If this is not possible at this time, we expect the workplace to be unionized.
- Currently, the State is the only governmental agency that provides financial support to those who choose to use renewable energy. Part of this program would be to create institutions (private and/or public) that help secure funding for individuals, businesses and government agencies to purchase and implement renewable energy sources.
- Once established, the City should promote this effort to recruit businesses as opposed to tax breaks that hurt our community.
- The City should work in conjunction with local unions and the Rochester City School District to implement a program in at least one city high school that specialized in vocational training around the installation and creation of renewable energy technology.
If this plan is fully implemented it will have the following anticipated consequences:
- City tax revenues will increase (thus restoring services to the community).
- Real factors that encourage business creation, expansion and relocation will increase. (i.e. energy costs, infrastructure, living climate)
- The local environment will improve due to the added reliance on renewable energy. This will improve the quality of life and reduce future health care costs.
- The focus on the new field of renewable energy will open an entire new industry in the area, creating an enormous number of jobs – particularly in manufacturing.
- The renewed emphasis on vocational education in the Rochester City School District will attract the students who have been dropping out due to the over emphasis on standardized testing. Fewer dropouts mean fewer kids on the street, thus reducing police, incarceration and welfare costs.
- The demand for solar and wind has far outpaced supply. There is a huge need for the making of solar cells and wind turbines. From a business standpoint, this is a great opportunity.
- Success at this level will increase the number of privately owned businesses started in this field, creating competition, improving the technology and bringing down the costs of the products.
- Currently, almost all products created are done so in the western portion of the country. Rochester could become a national (or international) leader in the creation of renewable energy sources.
- Solar and wind power is already being successfully used by a small number of homeowners in this area. There is not a lot of publicity surrounding this therefore the market for such products is virtually untapped.
- The promotion of renewable energy will be an additional promotional tool in recruiting the creation and relocation of businesses to Rochester. Energy costs is one of the leading factors in business location.
- The field of renewable energy is perfect for a business-education link between these companies and Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT has already hosted several conferences on renewable energy.
- These businesses will be created with major assistance from the City of Rochester, but we emphasize that these will be privately owned companies.
- Within each business created there will obviously need to be people involved who have experience in running businesses, but the number of employees who come from the targeted constituency should be the maximum amount that can be maintained.
- As a generalization, the targeted constituency will need training in general job skills (i.e. the skills needed to have any job) as well as training in skill specifically related to this industry. Therefore we may need to employ the services of job coaches who are already at local agencies.
- We advocate worker-owned businesses to give our targeted constituency a bigger stake in the success of the company – therefore more control over their own success. There are numerous examples of successful worker-owned businesses already in operation and each uses it’s own unique structure and operating procedure. This is not new.
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Fisher, Peter S. & Alan H. Peters, Industrial Incentives: Competition Among American States and Cities. Kalamazoo: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 1998.
Hammer, Michael & James Champy, Reengineering the Corporation. New York: HarperCollins Publishing, Inc., 1993.
Leroy, Greg, The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, Inc., 2005.
Shuman, Michael H., Going Local. New York: Free Press, Inc., 1998.
Wilson, William Julius, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New
York: Vintage Publishing, 1997.
Energy Information Administration (EIA)
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
Rochester Solar Technologies
Solar Learning Center
International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
Mondragon Corporation Cooperative
National Center for Employee Ownership