Job creation and reducing energy usage are key concerns not only in the United States, but also throughout the world. In Baltimore, these two issues have come together to create an innovative green career workforce development program operated through Civic Works, Baltimore’s urban service corps.
Funded by a $532,319 grant from the Foundation for an Open Society and a $524,023 grant from the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR), the program will create sustainable employment in high demand “green collar” jobs for Baltimore’s underserved populations. This new program is particularly timely, given the increased interest in home energy efficiency and April’s Department of Energy report citing a shortage of training as the major barrier to expanding home energy efficiency.
The grant enables Civic Works to expand its B'more Green program, which trains unemployed and underemployed Baltimore residents in brownfields remediation, hazard abatement, and environmental demolition. In addition, the funding has contributed to Civic Works being able to move its green jobs training operations to a dedicated building. Here it will be able to construct improved hands-on practice areas that better resemble the real work environments of abatement workers, environmental field technicians and energy retrofit workers.
Called the Baltimore Center for Green Careers, the 12,000 square foot facility is located in Moravia Business Park, 6260 Frankford Avenue. The center includes warehouse, classroom and hands-on training space, as well as meeting and office space. At the center installers will learn the principles of building science and how to use various diagnostic tools to identify sources of air infiltration.
By working closely with the Maryland Department of Human Resources Civic Works will target Baltimore’s unemployed and underemployed residents who are 18 and older and have one or more significant barriers to employment. The program will serve 44 participants over the two-year grant period. Of the 44 participants served, 24 will be trained in the three-month long Energy Retrofit Installer training program, and 20 will be trained as Environmental Field Technicians and Abatement Workers in the seven-week B’more Green program.
Graduates will learn to energy retrofit a house, providing services such as air sealing, insulation, and Cool Roofing. In addition to training, graduates will also receive job readiness and placement services. Graduates will be placed into entry-level green careers with environmental employers that offer a living wage ($12 to $16 per hour) and opportunities for advancement. Employers who hire graduates will be offered a wage subsidy for up to six months.
Civic Works will work to transition each installer graduate into an entry-level position with a home performance contractor, weatherization company, or a home builder interested in an entry-level employee with demonstrated energy retrofit skills. Environmental field technician and abatement worker graduates will be eligible for entry-level positions with brownfields remediation, hazard abatement, and environmental demolition firms. Entry into this specialized construction field is dependent upon the possession of environmental health and safety certifications. The graduates will also be eligible for entry-level jobs in the general construction trades.