Awards fund efforts in Pittsfield, Holyoke, Springfield, Orange, Worcester, Framingham, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Boston to expand the clean energy workforce by boosting skills of low-income workers
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today announced four grants totaling $734,000 green job training programs that will help train unemployed and underemployed people for jobs in the clean energy community.
“MassCEC’s Pathways Out of Poverty grants program has a proven track record – with many of those trained through our initial 2009 grant round either placed in full time employment, continuing their training at community colleges, or starting their own “green” businesses,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., who chairs the MassCEC board of directors. “The program is a true win-win for the Commonwealth’s economic and clean energy future, and we are pleased to be awarding this new round of grants.”
“The Pathways Out of Poverty grants will help further the Commonwealth’s dedicated workforce, which is a key asset in our clean energy community,” said MassCEC Executive Director Patrick Cloney. “By ensuring that people throughout the Commonwealth have access to clean energy job training and real-world learning we are strengthening our leadership in clean energy and our economy.”
Authorized by the Act Relative to Clean Energy signed into law by Governor Patrick in November 2009, MassCEC’s Pathways out of Poverty Program is designed to jumpstart training in clean energy careers for low- and moderate-income residents. In February 2011, MassCEC solicited proposals from organizations to develop projects that include on-the-job-training (OJT) models that serve the target population and provide targeted services and activities that address employer workforce needs and optimize opportunities for participant learning, career development and economic advancement within the clean energy industry.
Funding for the Pathways Out of Poverty program includes $600,000 from MassCEC, and $134,000 from the Commonwealth’s State Energy Sector Partnership grant, awarded to the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Funds provided through the State Energy Sector Partnership are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This investment expands on the ongoing work of the State Energy Sector Partnership, a $5.973 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration that is supporting programs to prepare Massachusetts residents for jobs in the clean energy sector,” said Commonwealth Corporation President and CEO Nancy Snyder. “Leveraging these funds with funds from the Clean Energy Center will help us to serve more residents who need significant assistance in building their skills if they are to benefit from clean energy job opportunities.”
"The clean energy sector is one of the strongest and fastest growing in Massachusetts. These grants will help ensure that every resident can enjoy the opportunities that are created as we transition to a clean energy economy," said Senator Benjamin B. Downing.
“We are proud to partner with the Clean Energy Center to create the Metro Boston Green On-the-Job Training Collaborative,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “This innovative initiative will bring together Boston’s most dynamic employers with the untapped talent of our underemployed workforce, creating pathways out of poverty and into our growing clean tech economy.”
MassCEC awarded funds to the following projects:
Franklin County, Pioneer Valley and Boston
Co-op Power is a consumer-owned cooperative with chapters in Boston and Western Massachusetts. Co-op provides residential and small commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy services. In addition to professional services, Co-op offers neighbor-to-neighbor weatherization and solar installation programs in which people help each other make energy improvements under the supervision and guidance of trained energy auditors, efficiency contractors, and renewable energy system installers. Through its Good Green Jobs Project, Co-op and its partners will target unemployed and underemployed young adults, high school drop-outs, long term unemployed and dislocated workers in Dorchester, Roxbury, Holyoke, Springfield, Orange, Franklin Countyand Pittsfield. Co-ops program funded by this grant will provide on-the-job training at companies such as Energia and Spirit Solar. Trainees will learn skills in energy efficiency, solar hot water installations and green energy marketing.
Economic Development and Industrial Corporation
The Economic Development and Industrial Corporation will lead the Metro Boston Green On-the-Job Training (GOJT) Collaborative, apartnership of clean energy employers, municipalities, workforce boards, career centers and training providers that will train and place underemployed and unemployed residents from the 64 communities in the Metro-Boston region in on-the-job training experiences leading to full-time permanent employment. Partners include Next Step Living, FastCAP Systems, SatCon, Maloney Properties, Lime Energy Co. and Sagewell. The GOJT Collaborative will target five specific sectors: facilities maintenance, HVAC/R, renewable energy component manufacturing, clean energy company customer support, and weatherization.
Massachusetts Manufacturing Advancement Center
The Manufacturing Advancement Center (MAC) is a non-profit organization founded to create a conduit between today’s evolving workforce, entry level and advanced skills training, and job opportunities. The MAC collaborates with employers and educational institutions to develop and maintain a well-trained, flexible workforce. The MAC will work closely with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership to implement its Mobile Outreach Skills Training Program and provide on-the-job training for low income individuals, dislocated workers, youth that are out of work or school, and veterans in entry level manufacturing at contract manufacturers in the clean energy supply chain.
South Middlesex Opportunity Council
South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC) is a private, nonprofit corporation committed to mobilizing and utilizing private resources to advocate for and to improve the quality of life for low-income people. SMOC’s Energy Conservation Services (ECS) has 32 years of experience in the weatherization industry. Through their work with contractors, ECS has identified a significant gap in the availability of qualified weatherization workers in the regional labor force. In 2009 SMOC established a Green Jobs Academy (GJA) to offer career ladder training in the weatherization industry for low-income, under/unemployed, and incumbent workers and to utilize the expertise of ECS. Through its grant, SMOC will work more as many as 25 weatherization and energy efficiency contractors to provide on-the-job training for low-income participants as weatherization installers and will also provide career ladder opportunities for new crew chief and home auditors.
In 2009, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, in collaboration with MassCEC, issued the nation’s first state-funded Pathways Out of Poverty program. Based on the requirements of the 2008 Green Jobs Act, $1 million was awarded to five grantees in Lowell, Brockton, Worcester, Springfield/Holyoke and Pittsfield to expand the clean energy workforce by boosting skills of low-income workers. The five projects trained 196 individuals in clean energy skill programs. Of those trained, 108 were either placed in full time employment, began their own businesses or decided to continue with school by matriculating into for-credit community college programs. Results equate to an average placement rate of approximately 60 percent across the training programs. The program also resulted in more than 340 industry-recognized certificates and credentials being awarded to trainees, which will assist trainees in building a career pathway and make them more competitive candidates for jobs.
Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, MassCEC’s mission is to foster growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry through funding to companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations; job training programs; and workforce development grants. MassCEC is also home to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, which supports the installation of renewable energy technologies with funds provided by small renewable energy charges on electric bills. More information is available at www.MassCEC.com