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Is A Green Job or Business Right for You?

Dedrick Muhammad Sr

Dedrick Muhammad Sr

By Dedrick Muhammad, Sr. — Economic recovery is evading our most struggling populations with African American and Latino unemployment still nearly twice the national average. But, with the recent anniversary of Earth Day, now is a fitting time to highlight how the emerging green sector can bridge our communities to economic opportunity.

Green jobs help improve the environment and lessen the destructive impact that we have on our planet, and are steadily on the rise.  Nearly 3 million people are employed in the green sector ranging from manufacturing and construction to research, design, planning and development.

Green jobs are located in many of our communities, and urban centers account for 64 percent of all green jobs, and are highly concentrated in the West and Southern regions of the U.S. The vast amount of opportunities in the green sector explains the popular phrase, “green jobs equals good jobs.”  Green economy workers’ wages are 13 percent higher than average median wages; and green economy workers are more likely to report greater career mobility and advancement.

For those who want the right skills to qualify for a green job, training opportunities are endless with hundreds of programs available that provide green certifications and licenses.

Budding entrepreneurs should also consider starting a green business. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of our environment. In one study, near half of the respondents wanted to see finance companies provide monetary or investment incentives to businesses that are creating new clean energy technologies or promoting innovative environmental policies and practices. The study highlights a growing trend of consumers employing more social responsibility when deciding where and how they spend their money.

So, if you never thought about securing a green job and/or starting a green business, now is the time. There are a variety of resources available to assist you in a green career, green training, or a green business.

Career One Stop (www.careeronestop.org) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, and it’s Green Careers section provides an outline of green careers in today’s changing workplaces, and offers a job database to search for green jobs nationwide.

Green Programs, Certificates, & Workforce Development Training: The Advanced Technology and Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) created a database to help you identify listings of environmental and energy technology programs in the nation’s two-year colleges, high schools, and workforce training organizations at http://ateec.org.

The Small Business Administration (sba.gov) provides numerous resources for entrepreneurs interested in starting a green business. Resources range from how to find your niche in the green economy to how to become certified and differentiate your product or service as environmentally sound.

(Dedrick Muhammad, Sr. is the Director of the NAACP Economic Department.  The complete column was originally published on BET.com)

Affordable Health Care Act is Good for Small Business and Workers in California

Over 70% of California’s Small Businesses are Eligible for Health Care Tax Credits

Health_Coverage_Tax_CreditBy Herb K. Schultz and Elizabeth Echols — For years, we had a health insurance market that was broken for small businesses. With less bargaining power, small businesses paid an average of 18% more for the same health insurance plan offered to bigger businesses, and their premiums could skyrocket if a single employee got sick.

But because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California’s small businesses and their employees are getting better choices, with new protections that limit the outrageous rate hikes small business owners faced in the past.

Beginning in 2014, California’s small business owners will have access to a new Health Insurance Marketplace, Connect for Health California—which opens for enrollment on October 1,2013. This allows them to make side-by-side comparisons to find a plan that fits their budget and is right for their businesses and employees.

Small businesses also save with new tax credits that help them cover their employees. Many small businesses with 25 or fewer employees have already received a tax credit of up to 35% of their health insurance costs. And beginning in 2014, this tax credit will go up to 50%. According to the Small Business Majority, 375,310 small businesses in California which employ 2.5 million people will be eligible for an average credit of $752 per worker.

Additionally, insurance companies must now also publicly justify every rate increase of 10% or more, leading to a sharp decline in double-digit rate hikes.  Insurers must also spend at least 80% of small employer premium dollars on employees’ actual health benefits. These limits have already resulted in over $1 billion being returned to small business owners and other consumers.

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and create two-thirds of jobs. Owners and employers deserve a health insurance market with fairer prices, better choices and greater certainty.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees – that’s 96% of small businesses – are not required to purchase insurance, but qualify for tax credits if they do. Most small businesses over 50 employees (4%) already provide insurance. So the number of businesses that will have to begin offering employee health insurance or pay a penalty is minimal.

No business owner wants to drop coverage for their employees, and health insurance is critical to attracting the kind of workers they need to succeed. By making the health insurance market work better for California’s small businesses, the law is letting them focus on what they do best: delivering great products and services, creating jobs, and growing our economy.

To receive information and sign up for updates, California small business owners can visit healthcare.gov. (Herb K. Schultz is the Regional Director of U.S. Health and Human Service and Elizabeth Echols is the Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration)

 

Inland Empire Reggae Festival Features Fully Fullwood Band, Marty Dred, Errol Bonnick, Dave Monaco & Friends

SAN BERNARDINO, CA - The Third Annual Inland Empire Reggae Festival will take place on Saturday, May 11.  The festival will feature the Fully Fullwood Band, Marty Dread, Dave Monaco & Friends (feat. Shinehead, Aalon, and Leroy Osbourne), Errol Bonnick, LaDee Dred, and more!  At the National Orange Show (NOS) Events Center - 689 South “E” Street San Bernardino (Inland Empire).  Doors open at 11 a.m.  All Ages Welcome! Limited Time Only: Buy 1 Ticket, Get 1 Free. Kids 12 and under FREE when accompanied by an adult - Advance Tickets: $30 (General Admission) / $125 (VIP).  For Tickets call 888 718-4253 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time) .  Information: 866-514-3391.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – The Third Annual Inland Empire Reggae Festival will take place on Saturday, May 11. The festival will feature the Fully Fullwood Band, Marty Dread, Dave Monaco & Friends (feat. Shinehead, Aalon, and Leroy Osbourne), Errol Bonnick, LaDee Dred, and more! At the National Orange Show (NOS) Events Center – 689 South “E” Street San Bernardino (Inland Empire). Doors open at 11 a.m. All Ages Welcome! Limited Time Only: Buy 1 Ticket, Get 1 Free. Kids 12 and under FREE when accompanied by an adult – Advance Tickets: $30 (General Admission) / $125 (VIP). For Tickets call 888 718-4253 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time) . Information: 866-514-3391.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – The Third Annual Inland Empire Reggae Festival will take place on Saturday, May 11.  The festival will feature the Fully Fullwood Band, Hawaii Native Marty Dread Marty Dread, Dave Monaco & Friends (feat. Shinehead, Aalon, and Leroy Osbourne), Errol Bonnick, LaDee Dred, DJs Brigadier Jerry and Ranking Joe and special guest reggae radio disk jockey Junor Francis, a few surprises and more!  At the National Orange Show (NOS) Events Center – 689 South “E” Street San Bernardino (Inland Empire).  Doors open at 11 a.m.  All Ages Welcome! Limited Time Only: Buy 1 Ticket, Get 1 Free. Kids 12 and under FREE when accompanied by an adult – Advance Tickets: $30 (General Admission) / $125 (VIP).  For Tickets call 888 718-4253 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time) .  Information: 866-514-3391.