Helping the Community and the Environment
In response to a well-documented significant demand for weatherization services and the clear labor gap to meet this need, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) founded the Green Jobs Academy (GJA). The GJA was established to create real job and career path opportunities in the growing field of weatherization and conservation.
The Green Jobs Academy has developed a comprehensive model for training and placing underemployed / unemployed individuals in entry-level jobs in the weatherization and energy conservation industry, as well as providing additional levels of training leading to industry recognized certifications that allow the workers to climb a career ladder and advance in position and pay.
The academy offers training to weatherization installers, crew chiefs, auditors, quality control inspectors and contractor/owners of weatherization businesses.
Green Jobs Academy has acquired the following industry recognition:
- IREC National Accreditation,
- Only WAP Network Verified Weatherization Training Center in New England,
- Training approved by Massachusetts Utilities Program Administrators,
- Training approved for Trade, Section 30, ITA and Workforce Training Funds (WTF) from Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development,
- Approved provider of Building Performance Institute (BPI) and Construction Supervisor License (CSL) Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
- Approved Building Performance Institute (BPI) Test Center
A little bit of history: In 2010, the Green Jobs Academy was established through a grant of $700,000 from the US Department of Energy and a $250,000 grant from the US Department of Labor. These funds enabled SMOC to build-out a permanent weatherization training facility providing weatherization training, offering subsidized on-the-job training, and job placement for low-income and unemployed individuals preparing them for entry-level living-wage jobs in the weatherization and energy conservation industry. The GJA received further funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to train and place installers, and the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund to purchase vehicles to provide transportation for academy graduates. In 2013 -2014, the GJA received funding from the City of Worcester, two grants from the Commonwealth Corporation and additional funding from MassCEC in order to build the only existing ‘live-fire’ combustion safety lab in the state. GJA received funding in 2015 to run a Pathways Out of Poverty Pilot Program with MassCEC, which focuses on women in the Clean Energy field.
In its first year, GJA focused on training individuals as installers. This training included industry recognized certification in RRP Lead Renovation and OSHA 10. In 2011, GJA offered Crew Chief classes, along with Combustion Safety, Advanced Blower Door and OSHA 30. In 2012, ASHRAE62.2 was offered. In 2013, Quality Control Inspector and Lead Safe Weatherization were added to further meet grant requirements and training needs of the WAP and Massachusetts Utilities. In December 2014, RRP Lead Refresher was added to the portfolio. In August of 2015, OSHA Confined Spaces and RRP Lead Refresher was added.
The GJA has met and often exceeded outcomes for their state and federal contracts. To-date; 303 low-income and unemployed weatherization installers have graduated; 243 were placed in permanent jobs. The GJA holds Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) with 85 employer partners to provide on-the-job training, mentoring and job placement. In addition to Installer training; 275 individuals were trained as Crew Chiefs, 74 were trained as Quality Control Inspectors, 310 were trained in Combustion Safety, 106 in ASHRAE62.2, 93 in Advanced Blower Door, 299 in Lead Safe Weatherization, 86 in OSHA 30, 379 in OSHA 10, 97 in OSHA Confined Spaces and 74 in RRP Lead Refresher.