President Clinton visits Chicago, announces job growth commitments

June 29, 2011

President Bill Clinton announced in Chicago Wednesday that the AFL-CIO is committed to raising $10 billion over the next five years for American infrastructure projects.

Clinton is leading a two-day conference of the Clinton Global Initiative, with participants ranging from political leaders to economists. The group hopes to brainstorm solutions for revitalizing the American economy.

Beyond raising billions over the next five years for infrastructure, the AFL-CIO is also committing to raising $20 million towards energy-efficient retrofits of buildings, according to Clinton.

"All the public buildings can afford to do retrofits now because they can structure the returns so that they make an appropriate profit for the funds that invest, and they allow the buildings investment to be paid off long enough term so that they can be paid off entirely from lower utility costs," Clinton said.

The labor group also plans to train 400,000 apprentices and provide skills upgrades and certifications.

Clinton also announced a second initiative that will work towards helping residents in the tornado-devastated city of Joplin, MO. Onshore Technology Services plans to create 1,000 jobs there over the next five years.

The third commitment involves Kiva.org, a global micro-lending organization, and Visa. Together, these two groups committed to bring $1 million  to small businesses in Detroit. According to Clinton, over the next two years, the commitment will also roll out in other American cities, dispersing a total of $3.5 million in loans.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also attended the first day of the meetings, where he spoke about job creation in Chicago.

The meetings will continue into Thursday.