US Vice President Joe Biden pushed "green jobs" on Friday as a way to help the middle class weather economic hard times, saying better pay and social benefits will flow from producing environmentally friendly goods and services.
Biden was scheduled to open a meeting of a White House Task Force on Middle Class Families in Philadelphia that has as its centerpiece President Barack Obama's plans to invest 20 billion dollars in a "cleaner, greener economy."
"So what exactly are 'green jobs'?" Biden wrote in an op-ed published Friday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They provide products and services that use renewable energy resources, reduce pollution, and conserve energy and natural resources."
Citing the Council of Economic Advisers, Biden said green jobs pay 10 to 20 percent more than other jobs and are more likely to be unionized.
"Building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels, weatherizing homes and office buildings, and renovating schools are just a few of the ways to create high-quality green jobs that strengthen the foundation of this country," he wrote.
He said Philadelphia was working with its unions, universities and community colleges to tap into the 500 million dollars the administration recovery plan has earmarked for "green job training."
"Investing in green jobs also means keeping up with the modern economy. At a time when good jobs at good wages are harder and harder to come by, we must find new, innovative opportunities," the vice president said.
The White House said Biden would be joined in Philadelphia by six cabinet members, including the secretaries of agriculture, labor, housing and urban development, energy and education.