August 5, 2015

Contact: Murphy Stack, 206.466.7712,

New Report finds a “Green” Glass Ceiling for Seattle’s Young Workers of Color
Community Leaders Calling for Green Paid Internships

SEATTLE–Today, Got Green’s “Young Leaders” released a new report that identifies access challenges for young workers of color who want to pursue “green” career pathways and calls on elected officials and public agencies to invest in paid internships that can provide an entry into these fields.

The report, “Breaking the Green Ceiling: Investing in Young Workers of Color, Paid Environmental Internships, Career Pathways,“ is part of Got Green’s Green Pathways Campaign, which advocates for creating more career pathways to leadership positions for young people of color that will benefit our communities and the environment. The term “green ceiling” refers to the 16% cap of people of color employed in green fields including, foundations, non-profits, government agencies.

Community partners – Environmental Professionals of Color, Youth Speaks, The Washington Bus, and Food Empowerment Education Sustainability Team (FEEST) joined Got Green’s Young Leaders to make the announcement outside the King County Detention Center.

“There’s been a lot of talk lately about income gaps in our region, we need to move from conversations to action,” said Mo! Avery, Got Green’s Young Leaders Organizer. “The Young Leaders chose the Youth Jail for the press conference to illustrate where funds that could be used to invest in our youth are actually going. Rather than funding organizations that could train the youth and give them valuable career skills to help uplift our communities, money is instead being poured into an institution that often acts as a massive barrier to careers and upward mobility for young people of color.”

According to report findings, in many green industries, unpaid internships have become a replacement for entry-level, paid jobs. Unpaid internships create significant barriers for many young people of color who often cannot afford to work without compensation. Instead, young workers of color find minimum wage jobs with no career trajectory and limited employment skills, making it even more difficult to pursue meaningful work for our communities and environment.

Got Green applauds the Mayor’s recently announced Youth Employment Initiative that will create 2000 new jobs. This is a move in the right direction that Got Green is working to build off of. Got Green’s recommendations from the report include; expand the definition and number of “green” paid work experience opportunities which we define as good for the environment and our communities at the same time; do targeted outreach to young adults of color to increase racial diversity in the environmental jobs field; develop systems to help young adults move into career pathways.

“Seattle is a leader in climate action, but falls short on equity measures, we risk leaving behind the young adults who can help us maintain that leadership role tomorrow. The investment in a brighter future and a healthier planet begins with investing in the empowerment of the youth of color,” said Laurie Torres, Got Green Young Leader.

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