Our vision is to create career pathways and expand opportunities for people from under-resourced communities as we enable a just transition to a climate-resilient future for Denver. This includes ensuring that green jobs are quality jobs that provide livable wages and benefits from employers who provide quality services and products that allow workers to build skills and competitiveness in the workforce.
A green workforce is one made up of a variety of career pathways that directly contribute to moving our city and the built environment toward sustainability and resiliency. This includes current jobs that require new skills to meet green standards, jobs that are in higher demand because of green initiatives, and entirely new and evolving occupations.
To realize our vision, we work in partnership with employers, trade organizations, training providers and community organizations to reduce barriers and increase access to job seekers from under-resourced communities, and workers from industries in transition.
Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency awarded $2.6 million to organizations that will create and expand clean energy jobs. This investment comes from the Climate Protection Fund.
The six awardees will provide:
- Pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships
- On-the-job training
Awardees will also reduce or eliminate barriers to employment. These programs will target under-resourced communities, people of color and workers from industries in transition.
Green workforce development programs provide access to quality green jobs with livable wages and benefits from employers.
Community College of Denver/WORKNOW
Community College of Denver/WORKNOW will enroll Denverites into the existing services of 20 plus WORKNOW construction partner organizations to facilitate growth of clean energy and green building pathways. This will create new job training opportunities and expand employment connections with local green industry employers that increase opportunities and reduce barriers for residents.
Denver Public Schools
The DPS Xplore Career Exploration Program will introduce high school students to green energy careers through onsite business tours and/or virtual/in-school speakers. In addition, its Summer Renewable Energy Academy will offer students an opportunity to explore green careers, prepare for a locally recognized Installation Basics Training completion certificate and apply their learning through industry led, hands-on projects. DPS will identify career exploration speakers, mentors, and partner with various industry groups including the African American Trades Association which will offer summer internship opportunities to students in the green energy industry.
Energy Efficiency Business Coalition
Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (EEBC) has brought together a team of experts to implement a scalable project that addresses both Denver’s Workforce Equity and Climate Change goals. The team consists of EEBC, International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology and Julius Education. They will implement a program that targets priority populations, provide basic free online training developed through the nationally recognized Energy$mart Academy, prepare candidates for Building Performance Institute certifications, and source candidates into EEBC’s network of businesses for good paying, entry level green jobs. In parallel, the team will work with EEBC’s existing network of contractors to provide upskill training on very high efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technologies, specifically cold climate Air Source Heat Pumps, prioritizing the training of minority and women businesses and those impacted by COVID-19.
GRID’s Colorado SolarCorps Fellowship Program (SolarCorps) is an eleven-month, paid training pathway, which aims to connect individuals from under-resourced communities with career opportunities in solar installation and construction. GRID will provide additional career coaching opportunities, job search support, and direct connections to hiring companies.
International Facility Management Association
International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is partnering with Goodwill of Colorado to address the needs of Priority Populations in Denver by creating a Facility Management Training Program (FMTP). Facility Managers are change agents in the climate action space, typically driving sustainability capital and operating budgets and creating significant numbers of green jobs. The FMTP is now a Registered Apprenticeship program in Colorado that major employers in the IFMA Denver Chapter are in full support of and are prepared to offer employment to Apprentices and completers of the program.
Mile High Youth Corps
Mile High Youth Corps' (MHYC) Energy and Water Conservation program provides low-income residents of Denver with an array of services that lower utility bills while reducing energy and water consumption. MHYC’s training program prepares young people for the green workforce and full-time, quality employment by offering Corps Members certifications in Department of Energy and Department of Labor recognized training including Building Performance Institute’s Building Science Principles and Roots of Success programs.
In Q1 of 2022, 29 people were enrolled in a green workforce development program funded by Denver's Climate Protection Fund.
- 1 is a veteran
- 14 are low-income
- 3 are people with disabilities
- 6 are people experiencing homelessness
- 5 are individuals have had interactions with the criminal justice system as a defendant
People enrolled in the green workforce training were asked about their barriers to green jobs employment. The top responses were:
- 80%: Being under-represented in industries
- 80%: Discrimination (sexism, racism, ageism, etc.)
- 75%: Being a single parent
- 75%: Mental health (anxiety, trauma, stress, etc.)
- 50%: No GED/high school diploma
- 40%: Lack of driver's license
- 40%: Lack of transportation