This article is 2 years old. It was published on November 6, 2020.
The City of St. Louis, under the nationally recognized environmental and climate leadership of Mayor Lyda Krewson, today furthered its commitment to building a clean energy economy by announcing recruitment is now underway for a new green jobs workforce development effort that will be piloted this fall.
“This is an innovative way for us to make strides with the City’s ambitious climate protection goals while advancing diversity and equity in the workforce at the same time. We’re fortunate to have strong community partners willing to join us in taking a leadership role in this endeavor. I trust this pilot will deliver a tangible, comprehensive set of essential skills needed by City residents to participate in growing a green economy,” said Mayor Krewson.
The Solar Workforce Development Pilot is a collaboration between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and National Electrical Contractors Association (IBEW-NECA), the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), and community partners with expertise in the solar industry and/or workforce development.
It was developed by the City’s Office of Sustainability with support from the Energy Foundation through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. St. Louis is one of 25 cities selected to participate in the Climate Challenge, an effort to resource cities to take strong action to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change and impacts public health.
Employment Connection, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will coordinate the program, which is designed to address barriers experienced by unemployed and underemployed City residents.
“Employment Connection has been focused on providing career training and placement services for our clients for more than 40 years. We are excited to join these partners in providing these opportunities for City residents,” said Sal Martinez, CEO of Employment Connection. “This paid training program will introduce minorities and people of color to opportunities in the career fields of green technology and the electrical trades.”
The pilot aims to place a group of 10 to 20 participants in a multi-faceted training program with supervised field training and mentoring experiences. Solar array installation experts will provide installation instruction, supervise on-the-job training, and/or consider participants for hired positions. While participants will receive a stipend and be eligible for additional wrap-around services during the program, the objective is to position program graduates into paid jobs or entry-level career opportunities.
“This initiative advances the City’s triple bottom line sustainability objectives with environmental, economic, and social benefits. It also centers equity in our ever-expanding regional green economy, by establishing a nexus for new green job skills while promoting the City’s climate action objectives and the local use of renewable energy,” said Catherine Werner, Sustainability Director for the City of St. Louis.
In total, solar professionals at IBEW-NECA will provide 24 hours of training. SLATE, Employment Connection, and Building Union Diversity (BUD) will collaboratively prepare entrants into the pilot by providing job readiness training, improving interview skills, assessing fitness for a particular industry or position, and various soft and technical skills for employment success.
“We’re thrilled for the chance to bring our union’s solar classroom education and field instruction to this program, in conjunction with our terrific partners at Employment Connection, SLATE, and BUD,” said Dennis J. Gralike, Director of Apprenticeship at IBEW-NECA.
“St. Louis continues to show how cities can lead by taking steps to enhance air quality, improve public health, and create good, local jobs in low-income communities and communities of color that have endured the worst effects of climate change,” said Stefan Schaffer, City Strategist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Other partners include: Renew Missouri, which will assist with identifying potential employers, educate program participants about the local solar industry, and integrate the pilot as part of its Renew STL Solar program; Azimuth Energy and Straight Up Solar, which will provide job shadowing and mentoring; and Washington University in St. Louis, which will provide evaluation support to the program.
Candidates interested in learning more about getting involved with the program should contact Employment Connection at (314) 333-JOBS, by visiting their headquarters at 2838 Market St., St. Louis, MO, 63103, or online.