Launching November 1, Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network’s Create Jobs for USA will begin collecting donations from the tens of millions of Starbucks customers to support America’s small businesses. Starting with $5 million from Starbucks and the donations from its customers, Create Jobs for USA will provide loans to small businesses in the hopes of creating new jobs.
While this initial push of funding can provide businesses with the capital they need to hire, the market has to be strong enough to support the businesses and their new employees. To overcome this, perhaps Schultz’s new program could use some of its funds to support business from the consumer side of a continually growing industry: home energy efficiency services.
Green jobs make up an increasing part of today’s job market. Already, more than 1/3 of the design and construction workforce is comprised of green professionals, according to a recent study by McGraw Hill Construction. And as America looks to become a more energy efficient nation, providing consumers with the means to hire business to audit and retrofit their homes can have significant impacts on many fronts.
As Create Jobs for USA sets out do, increasing the demand for green services will help to support the growing green workforce and create new jobs. In addition, the environmental and economic benefits abound. Increasing home energy efficiency will reduce our carbon footprint, improve environmental quality, lower consumers’ energy and maintenance expenses (providing them with the means to spend elsewhere), reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and support the American green tech industry as it competes with heavily subsidized foreign giants, like the Chinese industry.
The benefits are undeniable. Supporting the green job industry through funding to businesses and consumers would be a win-win for Americans.