Authors: Kat Daniel | Program Manager, Communities of Practice Green For All recently convened the 2011 Working Group that will lead its Retrofit America's Cities Community of Practice. This year marked a distinct shift in the agenda from those of past years. With a strong presence of grantees and sub-grantees from the U.S. Department of Energy's BetterBuildings program and other members who have been working for the past several years in community-wide efficiency programs, the 2011 working group is very focused on tools for implementation. On the first day sessions focused on achieving High Road Outcomes and increasing the capacity of small and diverse contractors to perform energy efficiency upgrades. The conversation was very focused on business support services and innovations that can lower the barriers for small contractors to enter the energy efficiency sector. Working group members also discussed how to support and incentivize contractors to offer competitive wages and benefits to their employees. The working group started the second day with a workshop on inclusive finance programs that increase access to energy efficiency for low- and moderate-income homeowners. We spent most of the day discussing how to leverage existing community assets and neighborhood networks to spread information and generate demand for efficiency measures. The working group closed out the day with a discussion about strategies for better connecting newly trained workers to career pathways in efficiency.
In the form of replicable models, best practices, innovations, and tools for implementation, the sheer wealth of knowledge and unprecedented level of technical expertise about the efficiency sector that this working group brings to the table is contributing greatly to the growth of a clean energy economy.
Authors: Vien Truong | Senior Associate
Green For All is extending the focus of the Green Pathways Out of PovertyCommunity of Practice to include issues facing at-risk and disconnected youth. Our country's youth face some steep challenges. The numbers on education and labor give us sobering news on the future of our country. For every ten students who enter 9th grade:
- Seven will graduate high school
- Four will enter college
- Only two will complete an associate's degree or higher
Many schools in low-income communities are graduating less than 50% of their students. In Oakland, where I grew up and currently live, some schools are graduating fewer than 25% of their students. On the bright side, the U.S. economy will produce 15.6 million new jobs from 2006 to 2016. And the growth in green jobs has been one of the few good news stories in our recovering economy.
Most of these new jobs will require some education or training beyond high school, but less than a college degree. Jobs requiring post-secondary credentials are growing twice as fast as jobs that do not. This means that many of our youth do not and will not qualify for the new jobs being created.
Youth must begin building work skills towards a career now or they can be stuck in dead-end jobs as adults. There are great organizations that are doing the work to prepare youth to take advantage of these opportunities. These include Austin's American YouthWorks, Denver's Mile High Youth Corps, and Berkeley's Rising Sun Energy Center. Check out this great video about the Mile High Youth Corps.
We must work to create pathways towards well-paying careers for youth, especially for those who are "at risk" or are not in school or working. We must prepare youth for well-paying jobs in high growth sectors – jobs that will be available when they graduate from training and education programs. As the country's green economy grows, so will the opportunities for the next generation. But unless pathways to these opportunities are built, those who need them the most will be left out. The extended focus of our Green Pathways Out of Poverty Community of Practice will do just that - identify the obstacles and opportunities for green career pathways out of poverty for at-risk or disconnected youth.
- Mark Wolfe – Executive Director, Energy Programs Consortium
- Adam Zimmerman – Senior Vice President, Enterprise Cascadia
- Mark Zimring – Senior Research Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
Authors: Ladan Sobhani Contributors: Kinnus Paul, Detroiters Working For Environmental Justice Ladan Sobhani is the Program Manager for Communities of Practice Last month Green For All convened a Community of Practice working group of individuals from across the nation who train or employ people with barriers to employment, including formerly incarcerated individuals, in green jobs. Our goal for the two days was to identify the green sectors that are most accessible to this population, document the best practices for green transitional jobs and social enterprises, and identify policies on a national, state and local level that can expand opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. The programs that these individuals represent are creating pathways to reentry into society through jobs in recycling, brownfield remediation, landscaping, energy efficiency retrofitting, and deconstruction (the process of salvaging usable materials from a building rather than demolishing and dumping it), among other sectors. While much of our discussions revolved around the nuts and bolts behind policy or transitional jobs models, I was inspired by the heart and passion that drive these individuals to do the great work they do. I learned a lot about how difficult it is for someone to reenter society after prison, the enormous amount of debt people leave prison with (average $24,000!), and the type of support and training that programs like the ones we convened can provide to help our communities heal. I asked a couple of the working group members to share their experience with us for this blog – here’s the response I got:
From Kinnus Paul, Detroiters Working For Environmental Justice
From Gregg Keesling, Workforce, Inc, Indianapolis
Green For All is grateful to the Foundation to Promote Open Society for its support of this convening and the Community of Practice .
On the call, we'll hear from SustainableWorks and its partners in Seattle about:
- The "whole-neighborhood" approach tomarketing energy retrofits through community organizing, and how it achieves economies of scale;
- How direct-entry slots were negotiated for disadvantaged populations to enter apprenticeships with participating unions;
- The role of pre-apprenticeship programs in the preparation of workers;
- The role of organized labor in creating joint training and retraining programs, a skilled workforce, and family-wage jobs.
Connections with Employers
A Community of Practice Learning Call Wednesday, October 14 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern
- Connie Ashbrook, Executive Director ofOregon Tradeswomen - Connie will discuss how relationships with employers and unions have provided placement opportunities for the women this program serves.
- Patrick Brown, Program Coordinator and Instructor atOAI, Inc. /Greencorps Chicago - Patrick will talk about how relationships with employers, combined with progressive city policy, has resulted inphenomenal placement rates for Greencorps Chicago, a program that largely serves individuals with criminal records and multiple barriers to employment.
Discussion ForumWe'd like to hear about the successes and challenges you've faced in connecting your graduates with jobs. Post your own comments, questions and best practices about how to develop relationships with employers to the Green Pathways Out of Poverty Discussion Forum.
Authors: Rebecca Lurie
Editor's Note: On April 22nd, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, held a roundtable meeting about women and green jobs. Three members of Green For All's Pathways out of Poverty Working Group, including Rebecca Lurie, were at the table. This post is adapted from an email Lurie wrote to the Working Group.
In honor of Earth Day, Secretary of Labor Solis conducted a roundtable of women from the field to better understand how green jobs can be theirs too. The Chair of the White House Office on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, shared the facilitation. Elizabeth Reynoso from the Green For All Pathways out of Poverty working group received an invitation and was able to refer both me and Jayne Sheridan (also from the working group).
The conversation revealed a lot of common recommendations from participants -That women need supports that are the same supports for many people moving out of poverty into the workforce. Education, transportation, childcare, mentoring and access.
Many of the green jobs will be in the construction field and what we have learned from that industry over the years can inform development of the new green jobs sector. Executive Order 11246, an equal opportunity law for women and minorities on federal construction sites, states a goal of 6.9% for women. This goal is low, is 30 years old and is still not met. Recommendations included raising the goal to 25% so that the work would not be considered “non-traditional” for women.
Awareness and outreach matters- Communicating to girls at very early ages that working with their hands and in physical jobs is a possibility. Teaching girls that they can do it lays the foundation for them to enter a field where they have to prove themselves every day.
Attendance at this event inspired me to reawaken my roots in this field. We need to teach each other that women belong in our programs and may need some extra supports. Confidence building is part of that extra. And perhaps it is needed across the board in our programs that serve to bring folks out of poverty. We need to assure that the confidence building efforts reach those most likely to walk right on by our programs because of that very lack of believing they can even do it.
So as we run and improve our programs for green jobs as a pathway out of poverty for our various targeted populations, let’s never forget that women are a sub-sect of all of our populations and they will need some special services that just might benefit all.
Secretary Solis spoke about the Green Jobs Act. She told us that the RFPs would likely be coming out of her agency in June. She will want to see proposals that include women in their approach and look at the big picture for workforce development, assuring that all boats rise up with the work we do.
carpenter, Rebecca Lurie entered workforce development through her union's
training fund. Currently she works at the Consortium for Worker Education, focusing on
creating workforce development programs that will accommodate the
shifts to environmental sustainability practices. (Bio adapted from Urban Agenda)