Obama's energy czar visits Oakland program
President Barack Obama's energy and climate-change czar seemed to like what she saw at a green-jobs training program Friday in West Oakland.
"It is so impressive what you all are doing," Carol Browner said while visiting the Cypress Mandela Training Center on Poplar Street, noting this was her first solo field trip in her capacity as head of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.
"I work for a president who absolutely believes that at the heart of our economic recovery, our economic future, are green jobs," she said, citing $600 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus bill for green-jobs training programs like Oakland's which will produce "good homegrown domestic jobs that can't be exported."
Center executive director Arthur Shanks escorted Browner; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums on a brief tour of the facility, which echoed with the pounding of hammers and the calls of hard-hatted trainees.
Single mother of five Mary Vanek, 37, of Fremont, told Browner she graduated in November from the 16-week Oakland Green Jobs Corps training program — a cooperative effort of the center, Laney College and Growth Sector, a workforce go-between connecting employers, government and community agencies — and feels new confidence in her work and life skills.