“Our communities don’t know about energy efficiency, saving money, and being in the green movement because no one has knocked on their doors, no one has outreached to them,” said David Bridges, graduate of an innovative job training program led by Southeast Seattle start-up group, Got Green, and their labor union partner – LiUNA.
But that is all about to change if Got Green graduates have anything to say about things. On March 16 the 14 low-income trainees in this neighborhood-based weatherization job training program – along with 40 other SE Seattle community supporters – called on the City of Seattle to make good on its promise of green jobs for low income communities of color.
Central District resident Curtis McCraney looks forward to landing one of these jobs. “This training provides me an opportunity to learn a new trade, get employed and give back to the community,” said McCraney. “I can teach them how to save money while at the same time keeping their homes and kids healthy.”
Deputy Seattle Mayor Darryl Smith was on hand at the Got Green training site – a vacant home on the back lot of the Emerald City Bible Fellowship Church in Rainier Beach – to hear the community demand of jobs on the soon-to-be launched Community Power Works Program. This $20 million federal stimulus project to weatherize 2,000 homes in SE Seattle kicks off later this month.
According to a community hiring agreement negotiated between Got Green, labor unions, employers and the City, these trainees should be first in line for jobs with the local weatherization contractors retrofitting homes to become more energy efficient.
Michael Woo, Got Green director, said, “We’re invested in this hiring agreement, however the real rubber will meet the road when the hiring begins. Got Green just wants to make sure that the Mayor’s Office will do all in their power to see our graduates – members of this very community – get these high road jobs.”
In addition to winning jobs on the Community Power Works project, Got Green is working with Southeast Seattle families to find a win-win solution that allows apartment dwellers to cash in on these energy savings as well.
“Renting families who are often squeezed between low wages and high rents need to be able to access this relief from their utility bills as well,” said John Robert Jones, a Rainier Beach resident.
“Jobs are a good start. But we want to expand this program to benefit hundreds of families in our community.”
Learn more about Got Green at www.gotgreen.org.