November 1, 2009 (San Diego)--Federal stimulus spending has generated 1,290 jobs in San Diego County, according to data reported this week on the first round of job creation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
While the report represents a landmark in government transparency, more must be done to make sure high quality jobs are created to help build a sustainable, equitable, green economy, said Murtaza Baxamusa, research and policy director of the Center on Policy Initiatives. (http://www.onlinecpi.org/)
"With 164,000 people unemployed and poverty at historic rates in this county, it has never been more important to build a strong, just, and green economic future for local residents," Baxamusa said.
Among the stimulus fund recipients creating the most jobs in the county were North San Diego County Transit Development Board, San Diego Housing Commission, and Synergy Electric Co. of Santee.
One example of the stimulus dollars at work is the MAAC Project (http://www.maacproject.org/) in San Diego, which has generated 18 new jobs in its YouthBuild training program and a new "Green Careers in Weatherization" program aimed at upgrading energy efficiency of low-income housing.
"For more than 30 years, we've been helping low-income residents weatherize their homes so they can spend less money on energy and more on basic needs," says CEO Antonio Pizano. "Now, federal stimulus funds are allowing us to create training opportunities and even expand into solar retrofits."
Nationally, the data show 650,000 jobs created or saved. Although incomplete, the reporting is, as the Associated Press noted, (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jMNoef6xDenBbHWO0Im6rI...) the most extensive effort ever by any administration to calculate the effect of a spending program in real time. It is a watershed moment in government transparency.
With ARRA funding still flowing to communities throughout California, public agencies and elected officials need to ensure that the jobs created present promising opportunities for career pathways and are available to low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The data reports don't include information on types of jobs created, or on the wages and benefits of the jobs created.
CPI is part of the California Green Stimulus Coalition (http://californiagreenstimulus.org/) an alliance of the state's top environmental, energy, labor, economic development and social justice groups. The coalition is urging better quality reporting in California and at the federal level in the remaining seven quarterly rounds of Recovery Act filings.