Organizations train New Yorkers for sustainable industries

Kermit was wrong: It’s easy to be green, thanks to local programs that provide free training for dozens of jobs in the burgeoning environmental and sustainability sectors.

These careers keep growing and expanding. According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2022, the number of jobs in the United States in renewable energy has increased by 237% over the past five years.

Green City Force, an AmeriCorps non-profit organization in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is leveraging this expansion. They train 18- to 24-year-olds with a high school diploma or equivalency and residing with the New York City Housing Authority, in a structured program that lasts several months.

This includes classroom training and community projects in Green Infrastructure, and attendees receive a salary of $ 900 twice a month, plus free monthly MetroCards.

Through the career services department and alumni of the program, participants meet employers and land jobs who typically pay between $ 17 and $ 30 an hour to get started; some go up to earn annual salaries of up to $ 90,000 as a project manager.

Joshua Owens, 30, director of social enterprise operations at Green City Force, manages and organizes state contracts in all districts and first participated in the program himself in 2014.

“I was blown away,” he said. “It felt like a college course, with so much information on sustainability in all fields: energy work, how to conserve resources, water conservation, urban agriculture, garden building.”

The course also gives back to the neighborhood.

Joshua Owens, the director of social enterprise operations at Green City Force, himself participated in the program for the first time in 2014.
Stefano Giovannini

“It meant a lot that something positive was happening within my community,” said Owens, who feels empowered by the program, as he can now move anywhere in the industry based on his technical skills. He also exhibits the soft skills of a willingness to learn and listen, valuable skills that employers crave.

Last year, Gary Lambert, 28, participated in New York CoolRoofs, a free program from the New York Department of Small Business Services in partnership with several organizations, offering training, certification and work experience in roofing installation energy saving reflectors.

Since its inception in 2009, it has clad 11 million square feet of New York City roofs in heat-vulnerable neighborhoods to reduce roof temperatures, reduce indoor temperatures, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Joshua Owens.
The program includes classroom training and community green infrastructure projects.
Stefano Giovannini

“It was a way to improve myself for employment and help me get Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certifications, site safety training, first aid and CPR,” said the Fort Greene resident who in previously worked in the maintenance of residential buildings. gets up. “This gave me the tools I needed to set foot in the door.”

In addition to learning about green infrastructure and cool roof installation, Lambert has cultivated close bonds with his 28 peers and leaders in his 10-week cohort.
New York City residents aged 18 and over who are unemployed or underemployed are eligible to apply, but must meet requirements such as the capacity to carry 50-pound buckets.

Attendee pay varies by location, but typically starts at $ 15 per hour. The post-program intent is to transition to the world of work by tapping into the virtual system of Workforce1 Career Center, which offers free work availability, work connections and support.

Attendee pay varies by location, but typically starts at $ 15 per hour.
Stefano Giovannini

In August, Lambert was hired as an assistant crew consultant at a workforce development organization, the HOPE program, which offers New Yorkers sustainable job training, skills development and job placement. “What I liked most was how informative and supportive the people within the program are,” said Lambert. “They are always training. It’s more than just a program, it’s a family. ”

Ultimately, all of these organizations are a boon to the participants, the environment and New York.

“Our CoolRoofs program trains and connects New Yorkers to good jobs, building our economic recovery while promoting the city’s environmental goals,” said Kevin D. Kim, commissioner of the New York Department of Small Business Services. York. “This program helps reduce energy consumption and curbs the urban heat island effect, helping New York City move closer to carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Joshua Owens.
“It meant a lot that something positive was happening within my community,” said Joshia Owens.
Stefano Giovannini

Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine and author of “Build for Tomorrow: An Action Plan for Embracing Change, Adapting Fast, and Future-Proofing Your Career” (Harmony), believes these types of programs are incredibly important.

“They are closing the most important gap in economic transitions,” he said. “We need to be able to train people in new sectors because where there is growth, there will be opportunities and the demand for great talent.”

Feifer said it’s a win-win situation. “We will do great service to the workforce, the economy and the Earth by making sure people are trained for these jobs.”

This is also good news for people looking to forge a new path, like Susan Ehrler, 54. After working for nearly 11 years as a database administrator, the resident of Roslyn Heights, LI, became a certified welder while working with her husband at their heavy equipment repair shop.

He now attends Farmingdale State College full-time to pursue a double degree in architectural engineering and construction management engineering.

Ehrler also signed up for his GE Wind Turbine Technical Training, a free five-week course, to become a wind turbine technician. He will get the Wind microcredential in the spring of 2024.

“We learned the parts of a turbine, took a safety course, learned how to maintain the turbine, and did two weeks of schematics and troubleshooting,” Ehrler said. At the end of each module, it was tested and received certificates of completion. “It is definitely the future of sustainable energy”.

Ehrler wants to incorporate these green building skills and protocols into his next job as it unfolds. “I’m open to any direction,” she said. “There is so much to do.”


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