Building Pathways, Inclusive Economies, and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults: Principles for Green Economy Legislation and Investment

Our economy is leaving out millions of youth and young adults. Despite the country’s record-low unemployment, youth and young adults experience an unemployment rate that’s more than double the national rate. The economy is not working for everyone, and too many young people are locked out of pathways to work and opportunity, especially communities of color. 

However, the daunting impacts of climate change on the United States come with a unique opportunity for young adult workers to reimagine how our society responds to disparate outcomes in the labor market as well as how to protect the environment and develop environmentally just practices that promote long-term sustainability. A green economy will create opportunities for workers to participate in growing the public and private sectors of the economy. This includes expanding green jobs for youth and young adults in new industries, government, labor unions, and community-based organizations. 

To ensure youth living in low-income communities and young people of color are connected to these opportunities now and in the future, we must be intentional in policy development, implementation, and accountability about partnering with young people and supporting youth voice and leadership by targeting resources to historically marginalized communities and building equitable education and career pathways. 

CLASP and our partners have identified the following principles for all advocates and stakeholders to consider when imagining a Green Economy:

  • Green economy legislation must target resources to where they are needed 
  • Just policy frameworks must encompass a racial and gender equity lens
  • Green economy legislation should partner with young people
  • Green economy investments must provide access to careers beyond hard hats 
  • Green Economy legislation must create quality jobs that provide family-sustaining wages and benefits to support themselves and their families