“Green Jobs Training: Funding, Implementing, and Collaborating”
October 28, 2010, 2:00 PM – 3:30PM ET
Coordinator: Welcome and thank you for standing by. Currently all participants are in listen-only for the presentation. At the time of the question and answer session please press star then 1 to ask your question.
Today’s conference is being recorded; if anyone objects they may disconnect. I’d like to turn the conference over to Sarah Miller, you may begin.
Sarah Miller: Thank you Katherine. My name is Sarah Miller, and on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau I want to thank everyone for joining us today for our seventh and final teleconference in our Opening Doors to Opportunities in the Green Economy series.
Throughout this series we’ve been sharing information and facilitating an exchange of ideas to better connect women with green jobs training and green employment.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the previous teleconferences, you may visit the Women’s Bureau Web site at www.dol.gov/wb to review the topics and materials.
And it’s now my pleasure to introduce the Director of the Women’s Bureau Sara Manzano-Díaz. Director Manzano-Díaz has spent her entire career in public service advocating on behalf of working-class families, women, and girls.
And we’re very fortunate that she is leading the Bureau’s efforts to promote green career pathways for women.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate your kind introduction. I want to welcome everyone to today’s conference call on Green Jobs Training: Funding, Implementing, and Collaborating.
This is the seventh teleconference the Women’s Bureau has hosted this year on women and green jobs and it’s the last in our series.
We have an impressive group of speakers who have much to share with us about their experience and insight. I am happy that Vermont Works for Women that is one of our contractors for one of the nine pilot projects that we have is represented today by its executive director Tiffany Bluemle.
Welcome Ms. Bluemle, [and] a warm welcome to all of our speakers. I want to welcome everyone on today’s call on behalf of Secretary Hilda Solis. Her vision is good jobs for everyone, and of course as the director of the Women’s Bureau my focus is good jobs for women.
She is fully supportive of working women and has participated in our last call in August which was about working women in alternative energy.
As some of you know and for those who don’t know, the Women’s Bureau is a jewel in the federal government. It was created by Congress in 1920, just two months before women had the right to vote.
Women’s Bureau is celebrating 90 years this year, and so everything that we do
during this year is our 90th anniversary year. After 90 years there is much still to be done
to secure good jobs and good wages for
This is why our motto for the 90th anniversary celebration is “90 Years: Still Working.” The Women’s Bureau vision is to empower all working women to achieve economic security.
The Women’s Bureau is taking the lead in ensuring that women are aware of and prepared to succeed in the emerging green jobs sector. Last year we hosted 30 women and green jobs round tables across the country.
And according to the participants, the lack of awareness and information about green jobs is the key challenge that women face.
In response, the Women’s Bureau will issue a publication this fall which will give women information that they need. So we’re preparing a guide for women on green jobs.
This guide will provide women workers and workforce development professionals with information on the benefits of green jobs for women, the range of in-demand and emerging green jobs (including the STEM occupations -- science, technology, engineering, and math), overcoming challenges, educational and training opportunities, finding a green job, green entrepreneurship and one of our pilot projects was very successful in Atlanta in which we have actually incubated and launched 17 green businesses.
So it can be done. As well as women succeeding in green jobs and planning your green career. The Women’s Bureau also, as I said earlier, funded nine green job training projects across the country.
These projects are pilots and serve as models for us as we go forward trying to prepare women for the high growth and emerging green jobs over the next decade.
Once again welcome to our call, and I’m going to turn this over to Sarah Miller who will continue to I guess introduce our speakers. We have some dynamic speakers, please stay tuned.
Sarah Miller: Thank you,
Director. And now I would like to
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Well Ms. Graber, we will move on to our next speaker for now. Who was our next speaker?
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Yes, we can hear you.
Colleen Graber: Okay, sorry about that.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Colleen?
Colleen Graber: Yes.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Okay.
In general what we’ll be looking at are the investments that have already been made by the Department in green and future funding opportunities that are coming up, as well as examples of green jobs training which will illustrate strategies for successful programs including collaboration and partnering, supportive employment, and hands-on learning.
We hope that you will identify some approaches and opportunities for current and future programs. I’d like to begin by introducing Mr. Rietzke. Steve Rietzke has been a workforce analyst with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Investment, Business Relations Group since November of 2006.
He works primarily on the development and administration of discretionary grant programs for workforce development.
to moving to
Steve Rietzke: All right, thank you Colleen. And thank you to our partners in the Women’s Bureau for inviting ETA to participate in today’s call and share some of our green activities.
I’m going to talk a little bit about some recent research related to green industries and occupations, and I’m also going to give you an overview of some of ETA’s investments in green job training projects and walk through a couple of examples of grantees to give you kind of a sense for the types of projects that we’re funding.
And I’ll also close out with a little bit of a preview of a couple of upcoming funding opportunities. So if you look at Slide 5, I’m going to talk a little bit about the greening of occupations as the title indicates.
As I’m sure you’re all aware the notion of what constitutes a green job has been quite a hot topic for some time. And a multitude of public and private sector groups have done all kinds of research on how the green movement is impacting both the economy overall as well as how it’s impacting the work requirements of specific occupations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is developing a system to count green jobs, and they recently released a definition of green jobs which I think is printed in the fact sheet that went out with the information related to today’s call.
But if you go to www.BLS.gov/green you can see that definition which basically says that green jobs are either jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
Or they are jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.
So in addition to the work that BLS is doing, ETA has also funded research through the Occupational Information Network or O*NET to begin to categorize green jobs.
O*NET is the nation’s primary source of occupational information, and their main tool is their occupational database which contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation specific descriptors.
And the slide that we’re looking at now shows an overview of the results of the O*NET research that I’m talking about which found that green economic activity has three different kinds of impacts on occupations.
There are existing jobs that are expected to grow in demand as a result of green activity or growth occupations. There are existing jobs that will see significant changes in their work requirements as a result of green, and they’re calling those enhanced occupations.
And there are also brand new jobs with unique work requirements that are going to be related to green economic activity or new and emerging occupations.
The research found that many green jobs do not necessarily require new specialized skills, but some require an upgrade or enhancement of existing skills.
So in many cases green jobs will offer opportunities for reemployment for skilled workers in electrical, mechanical, construction, project management, engineering kinds of fields because they already have a lot of the skills that are going to be required in green jobs.
To see the O*NET report yourself and the occupations that they put into each one of these categories, you can visit the links you see on the slide, www.onetcenter.org/reports/green.html.
So now I’m going to jump to Slide 6 and talk a little bit about our investments under the Recovery Act.
To support workers in gaining the skills that they need to take advantage of opportunities in green jobs, ETA released five separate grant solicitations in June of 2009, and we made awards back this past December and January.
And the response that we got to these grant announcements was tremendous. We got well over 1000 applications and we ended up funding 189 grants.
So the whole process was very competitive. And I’d like to just give you a real quick overview of each of these five programs that you can see on Slide 6. The first is State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants.
Through this program we gave out 30 grants to state workforce agencies to basically collect, analyze, and disseminate labor market information related to green jobs and develop labor exchange infrastructure to help direct people to careers in green sectors and green occupations.
The second program we called Energy Training Partnership Grants. In this program we awarded 25 grants for projects that focused on delivering training to dislocated and incumbent workers.
And preparing them for and placing them into employment in green jobs industries and occupations. And the specific focus in these grants was to fund partnerships that include labor and joint labor management organizations, as well as employers and the public workforce system.
And these partners are all working together in each project to implement training programs that support the participant’s advancement along a career pathway and that also lead to credentials that are recognized by employers.
There’s also a focus in these grants on paid work experience kinds of activities like registered apprenticeship and on-the-job training so that participants can have sort of an “earn and learn” model and support themselves while they’re in training.
The third program you see there is Pathways Out of Poverty.
We awarded 38 grants under this program. And again these projects are also providing training and placement services in green jobs, but in this case they’re targeted specifically at individuals seeking pathways out of poverty.
These grants have a heavy focus on partnerships between community and faith-based organizations and the public workforce system and were targeted at high poverty areas.
These grants are specifically serving unemployed individuals, high school dropouts, ex offenders, and other disadvantaged individuals, and to serve these populations effectively the projects are tapping into the ability of community organizations to perform outreach, recruitment, case management.
And they’re also integrating basic skills training with occupational skills training and making sure that people have access to supportive services that may be necessary for them to participate in training.
The fourth program you see listed there is called State Energy Sector Partnership. We made 34 awards to partnerships lead by state workforce investment boards and state workforce agencies.
To implement training and job placement activities again, but in this case specifically looking for activities that are directly aligned with the governor’s overall workforce vision and energy policy in their particular state.
So through these state level partnerships they are then coordinating the activity, the implementation of sector strategies in local areas through the local workforce investment boards and One-Stop Career Centers.
Finally the fifth program on the slide there is Green Capacity Building Grants. Through this program we awarded 62 smaller grants in order to build the capacity of current Department of Labor grantees in order to kind of infuse some green elements into some existing projects.
Now throughout the three grants in the middle there that provide training, the Energy Training Partnership, Pathways, and State Sector Partnership Grants, ETA really encouraged grantees to make sure the participants received training that both advances them along a career pathway and leads to an industry recognized portable credential.
So that participants are both moving up in a career pathway and they’re also going to end up with something tangible at the end of the training that has value in the marketplace.
And I said that before and I’m reiterating it again because that’s a really important theme throughout the investments that we’ve made, and it will continue to be in the future opportunities that I’ll talk about in a minute.
So moving on to Slide 7, I want to give you just a couple of examples to give you a flavor of what these projects look like on the ground, and then I think you’ll hear some even more specific discussion about other projects from our other speakers, not necessarily funded by ETA.
this should give you a decent sense of what our projects look like on the
ground. So the first project that I’m
And in this project the community college is serving as a training provider but they’re also making use of an expanded service network to perform things like pre-employment and basic skills training, remediation like GED or adult basic ed or English as a second language.
As well as career coaching and employability skills training, kinds of things to prepare participants for interviewing and job placement and that kind of thing. The project is implementing coordinated processes for initial assessments, supportive services, job placement, and retention so that their participants are supported throughout the process.
And the people that are working on those processes within the grant are in coordination with each other which of course is advantageous to the participants.
The project also has an inter-organizational green team they call it that is coordinating employers, job placement folks, and other partners to develop curriculum, coordinate customized training programs, set up apprenticeships and internships and other employment opportunities.
Now the kind of partners that are involved in this project include Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Michigan Works, part of the public workforce system, as well as Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids.
And in their statement of work Grand Rapids Community College pointed out that women may not typically pursue high wage, non-traditional jobs without specific recruitment efforts, and they cite some BLS data from 2008 that says basically women comprise 46.5% of the U.S. labor force, yet they only represent 6% of the labor force in production, transportation, and material moving occupations and just 1% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
And so to address
And the Women’s Resource Center is also delivering assessments, employability and life skills courses, and they’re putting together peer support groups for women who are participating, and as I said delivering employability skills workshops that are tailored to women to help them make that transition into a career pathway in green industries.
second example that I have is the
This project is preparing workers for careers in public transportation, which is an industry that’s making a concerted effort to embrace energy efficient technology.
The program’s designed to expand industry training activity and capacity in a sustainable way, and this will be accomplished through labor management partnerships and will be supported by an emerging national transit training system which includes standards, apprenticeships, and certification.
And this system will help all the project partners in designing or enhancing programs that incorporate renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies and skills in a consistent way.
So they’re all looking at the same national system. The partnership is led by National Labor Management nonprofit. And the other partners include local and regional transit authorities, local unions like the transport worker’s union, the Consortium for Worker Education, an organization called Non-traditional Employment for Women, and local affiliates of the National Fund for Workforce Development.
one of the specific goals of this project is to actively recruit and train new
generations of women for stable careers in the transit industry, and the
organization called Non-traditional Employment for Women is supporting this in
And they’re also providing women with pre-apprenticeship training that will help them prepare for the civil service test.
Now before I go on to the upcoming funding opportunities, I want to just take a minute to talk about some other things that are going on to help “green” our workforce investment system as well as our existing grantees.
As I mentioned before the Green Capacity Building Grants are helping to build the capacity of current Department of Labor grantees to help their participants acquire skills that are needed to enter and advance in green industries and occupations.
They’re enhancing their programs by purchasing equipment, providing staff professional development opportunities, developing or adapting curriculum and things like that to build their capacity.
Another example of greening ETA’s programs is YouthBuild, and in addition to the core curriculum and educational requirements in YouthBuild many of their programs are innovating to offer YouthBuild students opportunities to learn additional new green job skills which you can see listed on Slide 9.
And I think I’m almost running out of time, so I’m going to move on to Slide 10 and tell you about our first upcoming funding opportunity. The Green Jobs Innovation Fund has $40 million appropriated in our fiscal year 2010 budget.
And those funds are going to be awarded by June of 2011, and basically they’re designed to complement the competitive grant awards that we gave out under the Recovery Act which I just talked about.
And we’re looking at several different strategies to help workers access green training and green career pathways. We’re still developing this opportunity, but we’re looking at things like pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship, green career pathways.
Looking at partnerships between community-based organizations and underserved communities with the workforce system and things like that.
So we’re very much in the development phase of that opportunity, but it needs to be awarded by June 2011 so look for that to come out sometime in the next several months.
And finally Slide 11 is the Career Pathways Innovation Fund. We have $125 million in the fiscal year 2010 budget. These will also be awarded by June 2011. This fund is going to take the place of our community based job training grants.
And continue the support that that program gave to community colleges but focusing specifically on career pathway programs at community colleges.
We will be awarding grants to community colleges and consortia of community colleges, and we’ll also be looking at two year colleges that meet the eligibility criteria and have been designated as Hispanic serving institutions or historically black colleges.
Sixty five million dollars of this funding will go towards programs that focus on training for healthcare fields. And again both of these programs are going to look at career pathways for individuals and helping them make the transition between steps of the career pathways.
And also training that leads to credentials. So I think that concludes my part of the presentation, and I’ll turn it back over to Colleen to introduce our next speaker.
has been featured in national publications, and two [programs] have been
replicated outside the state of
Tiffany Bluemle: Yes, I’m here.
Colleen Graber: Go ahead and begin, thank you.
Tiffany Bluemle: Okay, thanks very much. Thanks for inviting me to be part of this. I’m in very good company here, and thanks specifically to the Women’s Bureau for highlighting this and for our partners at Wider Opportunities for Women.
So Vermont Works for Women, I’m going to talk just very briefly about who we are as an organization, focus on then one particular initiative that we have been working on over the last year.
And then just include a few reflections on really what is needed to move women into green jobs and keep them there. So we were founded about 24 years ago and we essentially are devoted to helping women and girls recognize their potential and then pursue work that leads to economic independence.
There are three strands of programming that have emerged over the last 24 years and they’ve - one is a vocational training in non-traditional fields, a program in law enforcement, programs in carpentry, green carpentry, painting.
Supported employment opportunities for women with particular barriers to employment. Those are usually first jobs. They’re most often not non-traditional but are a first step towards employment.
And then finally education programs for girls that focus on developing self-confidence, exposing girls to a wide range of career opportunities. Rosie’s Girls is an example of such a program.
several years we have steered our curricula to green jobs. Being in
So we would have cob building, a cob house building and workshops on renewable energy and speakers from some of the lead wind technology manufacturers here in the area.
Two, weaving green construction education and skills building into existing trades training programs that we run. [For example,] into a program that we run at the women’s prison that builds modular homes that are then sold as affordable housing.
And to our carpentry trades training program for women in the community. Our newest initiative in this area, one that’s really devoted specifically to green jobs in efficiency and renewable energy is Fresh Energy.
And it’s you know reflective of the model that Steve spoke about, the learn and earn. It’s an on-the-job training program for women that’s focused on weatherization and solar tracker installation.
And so what is it that we do? We do weatherization, air sealing, light carpentry, insulation installation, window replacement, energy audits and consult.
And we install
solar trackers, which in a state like
Fresh Energy is a crew of women that is headed by a trained professional that is BPI certified that actually operates in the community to provide services for a fee.
Sometimes we make money and sometimes we don’t. And - but the impetus for this program which involves risk, certainly financial risk and it’s labor intensive and it’s a - it’s year round, so it absorbs a fair amount of our administrative attention as well as our programmatic attention.
The impetus for it was about four or five things. One, we wanted to provide a training program that we could run year round where there were multiple points of entry and that did not hinge solely on public funding which has been very erratic for us at least in Vermont over the last decade.
We wanted to provide a really intensive and broad based experience that strikes a balance between training and production so the women would be able to walk on to a work site and be a really valuable member of a crew.
Cross training opportunities. Because we’re doing tracker installation and weatherization, they’re getting a lot of different kinds of skills.
It’s low capitalization. If in fact you wanted to start your own business, it wouldn’t cost a whole lot to invest in a blower and the tools that you would use to install solar trackers.
So late last fall – I’m on Slide 17 – we launched our very first crew. And so what have we done thus far? Well, we’ve installed almost 40 solar tracker units, and we’ll be involved in installing a whole farm in the near future.
We’ve air sealed a number of units as kind of a first wave of mixed income housing that we’ll eventually be doing all 330 units. We are an ongoing subcontractor to our state’s leading community action weatherization program so that helps us.
We get a lot of business from them that’s referred to us. We have our own private weatherization jobs and we do energy audits.
There are certifications that participants earn. I’m on Slide 18. I’m very proud to say that we have the state’s first registered apprenticeship for weatherization and installer technician.
It’s 2000 hours. Our lead is BPI certified, and we also - all crew members are EPA lead certified. So they emerge from the program if they stay six months to a year and a half with us depending on the person, depending on the market and depending upon what other job opportunities are available to them.
The object obviously is for them to leave the crew and move on to another employer. While vexing for us when they do leave because you know they’re a great crew member, it’s really time for them to move on. And we should be very happy about the fact that they’ve found full time work with benefits, etcetera with another employer.
So what’s been critical to getting this off the ground? You know, when I boil it down it’s really strategic partnerships.
First, you know, we’ve partnered with a number of different people in the area: the maker of these solar trackers, a major construction company, the major housing land trust in the region, and another contractor that specializes in energy audits and weatherization.
That gives us access to bigger projects and better training opportunities. The more repetition there is the more quickly they will learn skills and become very good at them and efficient. We’ve been mentored in our back office in technical and back office skills by our partners.
There are just certain skills we had to develop internally to manage the systems that essentially drive the business.
Our trainees are exposed to a whole range of employers and work sites. That is good for them to get a sense for how others do their work, and they’re also exposed to employers who might actually hire them.
know in essence it’s - this leads to environmental stewardship and reduction in
utility bills for low-income Vermonters and it creates jobs. One of the things that we knew about the
economy and particularly the business of weatherization here in
And so they weren’t likely to hire people if we actually - if we just ran a training program. So our response was to run a training program that actually hired the people, the women to do the work. And then they would enter not just as a laborer but they would have skills so that they could earn a little bit more and be very comfortable on the job site.
And probably stay a longer time on the job. We’ve enjoyed funding certainly the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau has been a big supporter over time and that’s really been - they’ve been a critical partner of ours. We also were partner with the BPW Foundation and Wal-Mart and the Great Bay Foundation.
We knew we needed to subsidize our work over the first two years to cover training costs and inefficiencies that we were likely to run into in our first year.
Where do we want to be three years from now? And I’m on Page 20. We want to be self-funded. We want to operate two crews in the state. We want to be the preferred provider or subcontractor for housing agencies and community action weatherization programs.
We want to have a balance of work between energy audits, weatherization, solar tracker installs. We want to have an 80% retention rate in our field, and we hope that some of our graduates will pursue self employment and we would be involved in helping facilitate that process.
Just in the couple minutes remaining I wanted to reflect a little bit in terms of our experience and our conversations with our colleagues across the country.
You know what really will change the face of green jobs over the long haul? Well, I think it’s several things.
One, funding meaningful and intensive career education and exploration activities for children in grades K through 12. Funding pre-apprenticeship training opportunities for women at levels that will make a difference.
Oftentimes pre-apprenticeship training, you know, has been funded at very slim levels and my great hope is that that will increase. The major source for funding for this has been the WANTO grant, Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations Grant Program.
Supporting retention activities to keep women in green jobs once they get them. Women often leave because of the isolation that they experience and they will need support. Nobody pays for the support, the retention support, but it’s critical, and it’s probably the most important work that we do.
A shift in cultural attitudes that have devalued trades and technical careers. That is something that I think is shifting now, particularly because of the green revolution. But I think that’s in flow.
And then shifting the debate from equity to economic development. My organization was formed and equity was really the driving rationale for our work.
Economic develop - now it’s just - it’s critical to the economy that women participate fully in the workforce in all of its areas.
And finally we need male champions for whom this is a priority. I want to see more men at conferences about women’s economic security.
This - men have to be committed to hiring more women. It’s - I’m always looking for allies. I think it’s critical because when it’s our shared priority I think then things will change.
So anyway, thanks very much. I hope this is helpful.
Colleen Graber: Thank you very
much, Ms. Bluemle. Next I’d like to
introduce our next pair of speakers. They’ll
be working together to talk about what they’ve been doing in
Kittridge is the Executive Director of Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace
In this position she directs a 27 member leadership board comprised of CEOs and presidents from a variety of sectors.
And she has done a number of different types of work prior to becoming the executive director. She’s worked with the - in the Minnesota House of Representatives and was the Director of National Policy Programs for Rural Policy Research Institute.
Ms. Kittridge has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership. She will be joined by Becky Thofson.
has over 21 years of experience in workforce development, most recently as
industrial sector project manager for Workforce Development Inc. in
has coordinated partnerships for MNREM projects and Aim to Win, a tri-state
regional innovations initiative involving southeast
Thofson holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Counseling and Bachelor of
Science degree in Business Administration, Human Resource Management from
I will turn it over to them so they may begin their presentation.
Teresa Kittridge: Thank you, Colleen. Good afternoon. This is Teresa Kittridge, and Becky and I will be tag teaming through the presentation. So we’re starting off on Slide 23, and I’ll just jump right to 24 which talks a little bit about, as Colleen mentioned, MNREM which is the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace.
you can see our mission is really to focus on developing talent and businesses
to boost innovation for our state of
We - you know our key goal is really about sustainable economic vitality and to make sure that we attract and create and retain our educated skilled workforce.
Our focus for this organization is really renewable energy, and we evolved actually from - initially from an ETA grant and have gone forward to do more work and are very happy to be involved in a number of project with the ETA and Department of Commerce as a 501(c)(3).
Just moving along to Slide 26. We really originated from a sector strategy and came together to look at how can we build workforce and grow Minnesota to you know stop our out migration and bring workers into the region and really develop that skilled workforce for the emerging energy sector.
And how did we do it? We really built upon you know the great things we had going on in the region and worked closely with business, workforce economic development, and education and labor to build and implement new methods of talent.
Our leadership board I think is pretty unique organization. We’re private sector lead and then have very strong entrepreneurs in renewable energy and manufacturing sector.
And [we] have some strong entrepreneurs from our public sector and philanthropic areas also. This graphic that I just put up on the Slide 29 it’s really, you know, where we focus which is our triple bottom line leadership.
And we really look at sustainability in the middle, and the different goals that encompasses are economic vitality, environmental presentation, and social responsibility.
So that’s always been a big focus for our board. This is the - with our first ETA grant we had which was part of the WIRED funding, this is just a quick summary on this slide and all this can be found on our Web site so you can read it better.
But this is what we did with our first $5 million grant that we - which was our inaugural initiative which Becky’s organization was such a huge success story of.
And that was - one of the things that I’m really excited about today is to have Becky - introduce Becky Thofson to talk about the project that they’ve created and the great success they’ve had.
So Becky, I’ll just hand it right over to you.
Becky Thofson: Okay, thank you. I am here. I want to talk about our pre-employment renewable energy academies that were started with the help of the MNREM organization.
Workforce Development, Incorporated, my organization, has been - had been working with some pre-employment academies in a couple different sectors before we got into the renewable energy part.
have held pre-employment academies for healthcare for several years being in
The academy is, regardless of the industry, whether it’s healthcare manufacturing or renewable energy, is approximately 60 hours of introduction to the industry, introduction to what the work culture is within the industry, expectations of the employers within the industry, as well as what the role of an employee is within those industries and then touching on the opportunities.
Our curriculum for these academies are all created with the input from our local businesses. And when the renewable energy academy opportunity came or the renewable energy industry started growing in our region, we saw this as an opportunity to take specifically the manufacturing academy and change it enough so that it would fit with renewable energy industries and with - that were growing and emerging within the region.
So we started with our manufacturing curriculum which was targeted to entry level manufacturing. The focus of it was more soft skills on getting and keeping a job in manufacturing and then tweaked to getting and keeping a job in renewable energy related to what the work culture is within the industry and what the expectations were of the businesses.
And we ran our first class in the summer of 2009, and we had no trouble recruiting students because renewable energy and the whole green movement is so new and kind of top of mind.
So we had plenty of students to choose from for the class. We ran the class and only one person got a job out of it. So we kind of stepped back and said well what’s going on here?
[We] went back to our employers who really encouraged us to add more to the curriculum. We needed to have more math in there, we put more safety into the curriculum and really got some better input from the employers who we were working with.
We also connected at that time with our local electrical union who has a on-site they have a tower climbing facility where they train electricians in climbing towers, wind towers with all the gear and the safety equipment.
And so our next classes included that tower climbing to help students understand the physical requirements and also some endurance and what maybe they had to work on outside of the class in order to be competitive within the industry.
And we’re happy to say that the rest of the classes went a lot better than the first one. We were also able to add to this second iteration of the academy some on-the-job training funding which really helped with getting some jobs because in our region the renewable energy industry is so young.
And growing so quickly that the employers, we have a hard time getting them to sit down and even talk to us because they’re working so hard and busy with just growing their businesses.
So having the OJT component was important. And really helped us in getting into some of these companies, building relationships with new companies that it takes in order to set up and deliver some on-the-job training or some good employees.
So I think some of the lessons that we learned from this whole program first of all was obviously the enhanced curriculum, and I might point out that this curriculum because it was funded under a grant is available on our Web site for download for anyone. That Web site is www.workforcedevelopmentinc.org.
Or if anyone has questions I can send them that link. Also the other thing we learned is that because these employers are so busy, it does take a long time to develop the relationships to work with them.
They’re in a very competitive fast paced industry and so developing those relationships takes some time, but once you do get that relationship built they’re very grateful for the assistance that the workforce systems can and any other outside agencies can give them.
Just quickly, at the time this all happened we had an ethanol plant in our region that had been cutting back on their production because of the - the price of gas has somewhat dropped, still too high but came back a little bit.
And because of the opportunity for OJTs they made a decision to expand back to their production and were in a position to produce at their capacity as the market has taken off now in the last couple of months.
So we’re excited for them and also for the program. I think that’s all I had to talk about for that particular - with these academies. They are pre-employment academies or pre- apprenticeship academies depending on the sector that we’re targeting.
So that was one thought I had as I was listening to some of the other speakers.
Teresa Kittridge: Great, thanks Becky. Then we’ll just quickly move forward here to our next slide, which is just MNREM moving forward, which is number 32. Slide 32 and just to echo what Becky said one of the things that we’ve always focused on with any of the grants that we funded and that we’re currently managing is that it’s intended to be strong private sector employer participation in anything that is awarded.
As I mentioned MNREM has moved forward as a 501(c)(3) and an institute for collaboration. We are moving statewide as a board. We were rural initially, in a rural area, now moving statewide.
Keeping that private public philanthropic focus on our board for representation at a high level of CEOs and presidents in all those different sectors.
current program of work. We have a small
grant from our economic - employment and economic department in
Rietzke talked earlier about some of the ETA grants that were awarded in
We are partner on a Blandin grant to the Department of Commerce to engage rural renewable energy businesses in implementation of broadband.
And we are a partner with the Blue Green Alliance which is - was a recipient of the $5 million grant for Energy Training Partnership from ETA. And we again are, you know, it’s the private sector leadership. Labor is a key partner and making sure that we’re training, going for that credential, as Steve mentioned, and that we have job placement.
And as we move forward we’re continuing to build out our full portfolio. We’re finding like-minded organizations to work together so we don’t recreate the wheel, and on Slide 33 it talks a little bit more about where we are headed.
We really have found through this whole process that industry engagement is critical to better inform policymakers so folks making policy can really understand where are the jobs, what are the employment needs.
We are very focused as we move statewide on a rural urban demonstration project and energy clearinghouse.
that’s all we had today, and again I really want to thank everyone for their
time and hope you found some of this information helpful. Our Web site which is www.mnrem.org has everything we have funded, some
interesting connections to different projects in our current program of work in
So thank you.
Coordinator: Thank you, at this time if you would like to ask a question please press star then 1. To withdraw a question press star then 2. Once again to ask a question press star then 1. One moment for questions.
Our first question comes from BethAnn Lee. Your line is open. Please check your mute button, your line is open.
Shirley: Okay, my name is Shirley, and I just had a question as to if there’s been any grants awarded to - for environmental protection or work in the area of schools?
I don’t know off hand if we’ve awarded grants in those areas. I could look into it. Could you repeat what they were? It was environmental protection and what was the second one.
Colleen Graber: Around schools. That might be something that the Environmental Protection Agency maybe has been doing some work in.
Steve Rietzke: Yeah, I’m guess that they probably focus more on that aspect than the grants we’ve awarded. But I don’t have all of that in front of me to be able to say for sure.
Shirley: Thank you.
Coordinator: Our next question is from Millicent Clark. Your line is open.
Becky Thofson: No, they didn’t. These classes are all held in our One-Stop Centers, and so all of the students had a job counselor assigned to them or they were working with job counselors.
So those students continued to work with their job counselors. The issue - the main issue we had with that first group was math skills. They just - the math skills were not as high as the employers were looking for.
So without having specific data in front of me my understanding is most of those students were referred to our adult basic education literacy program to try to build math.
Coordinator: Our next question is from Conni Rule. Your line is open.
Conni Rule: Hi, this question is for any of the speakers. I was wondering, it sounds like some of you work with community colleges, but are there any opportunities for private training organizations to get involved?
Becky Thofson: This is Becky. I could answer that. Our connection with our community college in the pre-employment academies is those entry level classes.
So in this particular - in this academy, the renewable energy academy, our local college teaches the OSHA and safety portion of it.
We also have them teach the students a forklift driving class and well you know I guess the tower climbing was through our union, our electrical union hall.
So you know I would think that any of those opportunities could be offered through either community college - you know any education facility.
Teresa Kittridge: And this is Teresa Kittridge. We awarded 28 grants through our WIRED funding, but through the State Energy Sector Partnership grant we just awarded 14 separate grants.
And it’s a - quite a combination of definitely working with our community colleges but private sector training also. In fact some of the folks that did get grants who are employers do have - they are training their employees also.
So I think there’s a big opportunity. And we encourage not only our education and technical colleges and universities that participate in training, but definitely encourage private sector training [providers] to be partners in the grant that we’re funding.
Conni Rule: Great, thank you.
Coordinator: Our next question is from Beth Auerbach. Your line is open Beth.
Beth Auerbach: Hi. I’m with the Office for Workforce
Competitiveness in the state of
This question is for Steve. We’re very interested in the Green Jobs Innovation Fund because it would really dovetail quite nicely on what we’re doing.
And I looked on the DOL ETA page and didn’t see a lot of information. Can you please tell me where we could expect to see the award announcement and what time frame you’re looking at?
Steve Rietzke: Well, at this point I think all I know is that we need to award the grants by June 2011, but in terms of a timeline for releasing this solicitation we - we’re not quite at the point yet where we know an exact time line.
It’s still kind of in the development stages, but you know you can bet that it takes some time to do the application reviews and it’s going to be open for some time.
So if you kind of work backwards from June 30, it’s going to be a little ways before that but I don’t know exactly when yet.
In terms of where to look the best place to go, there’s two places. If you go to www.doleta.gov/grants you can register for updates through that site.
You can also register for updates through www.grants.gov. So those are the two places to keep your eye on.
Beth Auerbach: Thank you.
Coordinator: Next question is from Alicia Thompson. Your line is open. Please check your mute button.
Alicia Thompson: Yeah, this
question is for Tiffany. She mentioned
that there is an apprenticeship program that they run in
Colleen Graber: Tiffany are - you might need to unmute your phone.
Tiffany Bluemle: Can you hear me?
Colleen Graber: Yes, are you on now?
Tiffany Bluemle: Yeah, it said I was unmuted. At any rate I am happy to send the outline of the apprenticeship to you along with kind of an overview of the other certifications that we offer.
And what I think probably the best thing to do is to contact me via my email which I think is probably in the information, is it?
Colleen Graber: No actually. We can provide that.
Tiffany Bluemle: Okay, it’s email@example.com and then obviously if you have any follow up questions I’m happy to answer them or point you in the direction of somebody here who can.
Alicia Thompson: Okay, thank you.
Coordinator: Our next question is from Jonae Watts. Your line is open.
Jonae Watts: Yes, good
day. This is Jonae Watts calling from
My question to any of the panelists is have you ever - because I’ve heard so many other different types of green projects but I really didn’t hear that much as far as in the automotive industry.
And I would like to be able to get advice and counsel from any one of the panelists as far as certain programs that you might be aware of in the automotive industry, how organizations such as ours which is a vocational nonprofit that has collaborated with other workforce or other agencies, and also any particular type of grants or funding that could be available.
that Steve was mentioning the Pathways Out of Poverty and especially with our
particular program we really do target individuals coming from the south
Steve Rietzke: Yeah, this is Steve at DOL. I think that the - we haven’t hashed out the particulars about you know the industries that we’re focusing on with the Green Jobs Innovation Fund or the Career Pathways Innovation Fund to a great extent yet.
But I think those would definitely be two things to look for, just because you know however the parameters are defined there may be flexibility to look at the auto industry.
And you know the Career Pathways Innovation Fund is going to focus on career or community colleges and other educational institutions like that, but there may be partnership opportunities available.
I’m not sure exactly what the eligibility is going to look like for the Green Jobs Innovation Fund yet, but I would definitely keep an eye on that one.
other thing that I actually didn’t go into is we have another actually pretty
substantial grant program called the
We’re hoping to release that sometime this fall, and if you go on our Web site www.doleta.gov there’s actually a fact sheet.
Like if you go to our Web site there’s a couple different boxes at the top of the screen and on the right box there’s a box that says something like news and within that box there’s a link that has a fact sheet, an FAQ document for that program.
Again there’s a heavy focus on community colleges and other higher education institutions but there may be partnership opportunities.
Jonae Watts: Okay, with all due respect to a lot of our community colleges in our areas who do a great job but basically our niche are coming from individuals that cannot afford to be out of work for a long period of time.
And so with our eight week class they’re able to at least get some type of certification, get a job immediately because that’s what they need and then move on into getting higher education.
So with all due respect with the programs that are out there where I think that we are really negating and neglecting that niche that really needs to find a job or some type of fast training now.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: This is Sara Manzano-Díaz from the Women’s Bureau. If you go on our Web site under the automotive industry you will see that the Department has made a $5.6 million investment to assist auto workers to quickly recover in terms of transition, in terms of a lot of the jobs that were lost.
But also some of that money was to go to develop industry standard automotive technician training programs for technical high schools as well.
So you may want to check our Web page.
Colleen Graber: Okay, thank you. Lots of opportunities there and certainly an emerging area in green to be working with alternative energy vehicles and so forth. Do you have another question?
Coordinator: Debra Rada, your line is open.
Debra Rada: Hi. Debra Rada calling from the central Illinois JATC. My questions were directed towards Steve. I think you’ve already answered the one question about the Green Jobs Innovation funding and watching for that availability so thank you very much, I do appreciate that.
I would just like to put in a plug for kind of the medium sized metropolitan areas. I noticed that when some of the initial rounds of awards were made for the ARRA dollars, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars that many of those funds went to larger metropolitan areas. I understand that, looking for bang for the buck.
But I’m hoping in this next round of funding possibly through this Green Jobs Innovation Fund that some of the more mid sized communities and possibly apprenticeship programs will have some more opportunities there.
I just want to compliment all of the speakers. This has been a great opportunity. I have several notes to at least help the efforts that we’re trying to do here in central Illinois with our JATC, and I found this very helpful so thank you very much.
Steve Rietzke: Thank you for the compliments, and thank you for the feedback. I’ll make sure that the message gets back that - not to forget about the medium sized metropolitan areas.
Debra Rada: Thank you, Steve.
Colleen Graber: Thank you very much.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Hi, this is Sara again. I just wanted to give you the Web site with regard to the automotive. It is http://www.doleta.gov/BRG/Indprof/Automotive.cfm. And in there you’re going to see that they talk about expanding the pipeline for youth entering into automotive industry, helping alterative labor pools gain industry skills.
And you’re going to see a whole list of things there so I think it will be helpful.
Colleen Graber: Thank you. Do we have any other questions?
Coordinator: We have a question from Khrys Vaughan. Your line is open.
Khrys Vaughan: Hi My question may be somewhat naïve, but I have to ask it anyway. Is there a central Web site or even mailing list of funding opportunities or funding competitions for for-profit or either social enterprises like my organization?
now we find ourselves in a mix of developing a green economics model for
blighted communities. We of course would
like to have research dollars for that, and I’m in the state of
To date only $900,000 of that money has been distributed with the closing dates ranging from October 31 to December 31 before the money gets sent back to DC.
Yet when I call around whether it’s various county, state, even city governmental agencies, no one seems to know through which agency this money is being distributed through.
So is there some online resource that we’re just not privy to because somebody is getting is money yet even people in the GSA system that I have that are clients of mine, they can never find these notices and never know of them until somebody says hey, you know I got a check over here.
Colleen Graber: Would you like to address that?
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Well, if you’re talking about recovery money, this is Sara again, then that money was distributed through the state. And I think that if you call your governor’s office they should be able to direct you to their point person for the recovery money and who the right person is in your state to speak to with regard to that.
Colleen Graber: Thank you.
Coordinator: At this time we have two more questions.
Colleen Graber: Okay that would be good.
Coordinator: From Ifeanyi Pole. Your line is open.
Ifeanyi Pole: Yes, this is message is for Director Manzano-Díaz. You had mentioned the women’s guide for green jobs that you’re hoping to have that available this fall.
Do you have a launch date for that publication?
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Well we hope that some time this November and December. We don’t have an actual launch date, we’re still in the process of internal clearance and so we don’t have an exact date.
But we hope that will be in November, December.
Ifeanyi Pole: Great, thank you very much.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Not a problem.
Colleen Graber: This is Colleen Graber. I’ll just add that as the guide is prepared that will be available through the Women’s Bureau Web site so Miss Miller could you give that address again?
Sarah Miller: Yes, it’s www.dol.gov/wb.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: And that does not stand for Warner Brothers.
Colleen Graber: That would be for the Women’s Bureau, and they have a site there that’s collecting all this material that we’ve been producing over the last year or so.
Both all of the records of these teleconferences, all seven, and other material that’s being developed in association with this is all located there. So that would be a prime place to keep checking back for new material.
And certainly you will be notified when the guide is prepared.
Coordinator: We have a question from Tamara, your line is open.
Tamara: Hi, this is Tamara from Women Going Green Initiative. I was asking of Tiffany, what were some of the financial hurdles that you encountered at the beginning in the planning stages and how did you overcome them?
Colleen Graber: Tiffany that one was for you. Could you unmute your phone and see if you could address her question?
Tiffany Bluemle: Can you hear me?
Colleen Graber: Yes, we can.
Tiffany Bluemle: Okay, sorry about that, I don’t know what’s wrong with my phone. So there are a fair number of financial hurdles in that we assumed from the beginning that we would need to have a range of funding to support the stuff that really can’t be supported through any fees we collect from the work that we do, i.e. you know our inefficiencies or time we spend just doing training with folks.
And so we raised some private philanthropic support to help defray those expenses. And there was also money from other sources that I had mentioned including the Women’s Bureau. Our assumption has been that really for the first two years we would need some kind of a subsidy to support the program so that we could break even.
And so this time next year that’s where we should be, not sure if we’ll be there but right now it’s a somewhat difficult market for weatherization because the money for it hasn’t quite hit the ground yet.
But we’ve been able to expand our business to include a range of services so we’ve been able to keep people busy.
Coordinator: We have a question from Jonae Watts. Jonae, your line is open.
Jonae Watts: Yes, thank you. If someone could please repeat the Web site that was given. It was the www.doleta.gov/brg/ and then that’s where someone was making a correction and I did not get all of that.
Jane Walstedt: Yes, this is Jane Walstedt of the Women’s Bureau staff. It’s www.doleta.gov/BRG/indprof/automotive.cfm.
Jonae Watts: Thank you so much.
Jane Walstedt: You’re welcome.
Colleen Graber: And if anybody’s having trouble catching the Web site addresses these teleconferences are transcribed and recorded so that will be available at the Women’s Bureau Web site in about two to three weeks.
So if you want to double check that, you’ve got that there. Do we have any other questions?
Coordinator: We have one questions. Debra Rada your line is open.
Debra Rada: Hi, Debra Rada again. Steve, sorry to pick on you one last time here. In regards to federal grants my training director hit me up with this question, not quite sure the sense of it, so if you could help me I’d sure appreciate it.
Because in my experience with federal grants this is not the case. I’m guess maybe that this is just the intimidation factor that goes with federal grants, but any truth to a comment, a public comment about that oh gosh, but if you get a federal grant you’ll have to make it open to the public?
Steve Rietzke: I’m not sure I follow the question, make what open to the public?
Debra Rada: Well I suppose it’s like if you would receive funding for a program with a federal grant then that particular program has to be wide open to the public.
It wasn’t making too much sense to me either but I thought well maybe there is some kind of new guideline that I’m not familiar with.
Steve Rietzke: I’m not sure what that would be referring to. I mean there’s - any grant program has fairly specific rules that you have to follow in terms of eligibility for participants.
There are - depending on the program there can be intellectual property clauses, clauses for products that you develop through the grant.
So I’m not - without knowing more about the specific situation I wouldn’t want to comment on that.
Debra Rada: Sure, I was a little at a loss myself, but I don’t pretend to be on top of everything that’s happening in the federal grant world.
I mean you know I did make it clear of course that you know when you’re using somebody else’s money there are going to be strings attached and what we would be subject to, you know the audits and the monitoring that would go along with that.
Steve Rietzke: Right, I mean there’s reporting requirements and there are like I said there’s eligibility requirements. There can be you know priority of service for veterans and things like that.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Depends on the nature of the grant, doesn’t it. And so you have to look at the wording of the grant to see what it requires and they’re all different.
Debra Rada: Okay, makes sense, thank you very much.
Colleen Graber: Great, thank you. I just - this is Colleen Graber again. I just want to ask another question of Tiffany and any others that would like to jump in about this.
One thing that may be particularly important with so many of these emerging green economy positions and the rapid changes that are almost required within the industries in terms of technology knowledge and things like that.
Could you speak to how you developed a relationship with your employer contacts and how you maintain those relationships?
So maybe Becky or Tiffany could speak to that.
Tiffany Bluemle: Well, this is Tiff. You know I think that Becky’s points were right on.
I think that the relationships with employers are all important, and in fact these employers in our region, we may be competitors with them for weatherization jobs, but fortunately you know there’s enough work for all of us.
They see the folks we’re training as their future employees. We spend a lot of time talking with them about what was needed in the field, and what kinds of skills they’d be looking for, and to better understand the career pathways.
If somebody decided they didn’t want to be in weatherization forever then where do they go?
And so the partnerships that we’ve been able to enjoy with folks in the business community have been pretty critical.
They’ve - as I said in my presentation they’ve even mentored us in developing certain systems for you know just managing the program and the work.
So they’ve been very important partners, and we’re working with the renewable energy folks here in the state to understand really where emerging jobs might be, what kinds of skills women might need if they wanted to get in at the ground level when the field is new and there are real opportunities for them to become leaders in the field.
Sara Manzano-Díaz: Hi, this is Director Manzano-Díaz. Before the call ends because it’s almost 3:30, I just want to say thank you not only to all of you who are on the call who are new to the call but those of you who have been on the calls with us.
This is our seventh and last call and this has been an incredible experience for us to be able to talk to you about the various topics, to be able to say to you that we’re here and that we’re trying to move forward on this initiative.
And we just want to say thank you for your collaboration and your time and your interest in this area because this is going to be our last call but we will be moving forward as I said with our guide.
And I just want to say that you all have been great collaborators and partners in this process, and I just really want to say thank you to all of you.
Colleen Graber: Thank you, Director, and you are right, it is time to wrap up here. So I will just close the call with a reminder that the materials from this call -- the transcript, a recording, the fact sheet that’s associated with this particular presentation and the PowerPoint -- will all be posted on the Women’s Bureau Web site, so that can be accessed after the teleconference in case you want to share information with others or want to go back and check information that you heard today.
If you have any additional questions you can certainly share those with the Women’s Bureau or direct them to me and I’ll pass them along and I’d like to just extend a thank you to all of our speakers today who did a great job.
And for those of you that asked questions in helping us understand what is the concern out there.
Jane Walstedt: Colleen, I
just wanted to add - sorry to interrupt, this is Jane Walstedt from the Bureau
again. We looked up, there is that Web site
www.recovery.gov. You know the government Web site for the Rcovery
Act money for the person asking from
Colleen Graber: Right, thank you. So www.recovery.gov. All right, well thank you everyone and hope you have an excellent afternoon or late morning depending on what part of the country you’re in. Thank you.
Coordinator: Today’s call has concluded. All parties may disconnect.