MEDIA RELEASEDate: Monday, September 22, 2008Contact:Vicki Pozzebon, Santa Fe Alliance Executive Director, (505) 577-5286
Green Collar Job Pilot Celebration Wednesday
The City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Alliance and ¡YouthWorks! will celebrate the success of an innovative pilot “Green Collar” jobs program on Wednesday, Sept. 24. All summer, six young people have been working with local businesses to learn green skills such as retrofitting low-income housing, installing solar hot water heating systems and applying innovative green building techniques. The program couples on-the-job training with academic skill building and job counseling. This unique design provides support for participants and uses a multi-faceted approach to ensure the greatest likelihood of success for both trainees and participating businesses.
“The City of Santa Fe is proud to support such an innovative project. The same-old programs aren’t good enough anymore, “ Mayor David Coss said. “Green collar jobs represent an important new category of work force opportunities because they are often high quality jobs with relatively low barriers to entry. This pilot is an important element in the City’s effort to provide successful, meaningful workforce training for Santa Fe youth while building a skilled workforce to support local businesses and also making a direct improvement in our environmental quality.”
Three local businesses participated in the pilot phase of the program: Cedar Mountain Solar Systems, the leading solar hot water heating contractor in northern New Mexico; Shanahan and Associates, a local green builder working in Santa Fe; and Los Amigos Educational Resource Center, providing weatherization and energy efficiency services to low-income and other disadvantaged communities in seven counties in the region.
The Green Collar Job Training Program was initiated through a series of roundtable discussions between the Santa Fe Alliance, the Santa Fe Public Schools, the Living Wage Network, the City of Santa Fe Economic Development Division, the Santa Fe Community College, EarthCare International and local, concerned business leaders. The aim was to develop a community response to the rising drop-out rate and the difficulty many local business face finding qualified local employees.