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Avalon Hoek Spaans

Research & Policy Development Associate, Climate Jobs Institute

Hoek Spaans is a Research & Policy Development Associate at the Cornell ILR Climate Jobs Institute.

They specialize in the intersection of equity, workforce, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Their current work focuses on conducting climate and labor research and policy development to move forward a just transition that builds equity and uplifts working people while transitioning to a green economy. They previously managed an inaugural climate workforce development program funded by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, training over 150 formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and at-risk young adults for careers in the green infrastructure and renewable energy industries. They have presented their work and ideas both locally and internationally; in 2019, they spoke on a panel at Grey2Green Toronto on the poor labor standards and lack of local hiring occurring in the NYC Green Roof industry and the pervasive nationwide relationship between urban greening and gentrification of neighborhoods. 

Avalon received their M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University and B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Florida. They currently serve on Columbia University’s Climate School Climate and Society board. In addition, they are a trained climate organizer, scientist and abolitionist.