Improving jobs, community, and the environment: lessons from the Ecosystem Workforce Project

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Title: Improving jobs, community, and the environment: lessons from the Ecosystem Workforce Project
Author: University of Oregon. Labor Education and Research Center
Abstract: In the Pacific Northwest, the Jobs in the Woods (JITW) program launched several experiments and projects in communities to provide quality jobs for local residents as part of the restoration efforts. This study examines a small sample of JITW projects that followed a “high-skill” approach to the restoration work. The underlying assumptions of this approach are that well-trained workers are a critical component of the emerging work necessary to restore watershed and steward our ecosystems, and that quality jobs are necessary for healthy communities. Ecosystem management, as defined here, is a collaborative process that strives to achieve economic and social as well as ecological objectives. The central focus of this research is to document the impacts of the high-skill approach, specifically to assess the benefits and impacts on agencies, communities, and the ecosystem itself. The intent is to glean lessons from these projects that can help inform the ongoing policy debate on how we manage our ecosystems, the role of community organizations, and the practice of designing and procuring ecosystem work. The research was based on interviews with participants in the five projects. In the absence of hard data, we sought consensus, within and across projects, on the fundamental issues of training and impacts on agencies. Our results concentrate on savings and other impacts on the agencies, costs of providing training, and, to a lesser extent, impacts on the watershed itself. Because of the small scale of the experiments, we were unable to test the presumed benefits of a stable and trained workforce to the community.
Description: 87 p.
Date: 1998-09

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