While in Chicago for the Nobel Peace Prize winners’ summit, President Bill Clinton addressed an audience of business and nonprofit leaders – including me – on domestic economic recovery, including workforce development and energy efficiency initiatives. The conversation will continue in Chicago June 7 and 8 at the Clinton Global Initiative America convening.
President Clinton touched on a range of issues, from the need to invest in education and workforce development to the importance of a long-term national debt reduction plan. He challenged us to bring together business and government to make change through strong partnerships, and he pointed to his climate change initiative as an example: employers have agreed to retrofit their facilities to be more energy efficient, then they’ve taken that savings and offered their employees funding to retrofit their homes. Both the corporation and the homeowners benefit from lower utility bills, the utility companies have increased capacity to support more business needs (without raising prices), and we all experience a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
MPC takes this advice to heart, as all our initiatives rely on strong partnerships and collaborative efforts. Through our Home Energy Renovations for Employees program, we are administering a program in the Chicago region that is similar to the Arkansas model President Clinton described. We have matching funds from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (which came from the U.S. Dept. of Energy) to help employees improve the energy efficiency of their homes – when they get financial assistance from their employer.
MPC has been invited to participate in the Housing Recovery working group at the June Clinton Global Initiative America convening, to highlight the role employers are playing in supporting local economic recovery priorities, including foreclosure response, community development efforts, and interjurisdictional partnerships around housing. Our latest issue of the EAH Advantage e-newsletter describes some of those employer efforts.
These strategies can work for various types of employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with your company to tailor incentives to your workforce that also help advance a more competitive, sustainable, and equitable region and your bottom line. Please contact me with questions or ideas or for help designing a program.