Creates Good Paying Green Jobs for Low Income Areas
Councilmember Herb Wesson and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined to officially kickoff the city’s’ Green Retrofit and Workforce Program at Vineyard Recreation Center in the West Adams community, located in the 10th Council District.
The Green Retrofit and Workforce Program was authored by Councilmember Herb Wesson, with the strong support from the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The program was adopted by the City Council in April 2009, and is the first large scale municipal green retrofit program in the United States.
“I am honored that the first building chosen to take part in this landmark program is in my district,” Councilmember Wesson said. “The outpouring of support from community and environmental leaders from the beginning validates why I authored the ordinance that created this program.”
The City of Los Angeles has been allocated $37 million from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, with the first $14 million to fund this program.
“The Green Retrofit Workforce Program is a national model for how to build a specialized, highly-trained workforce that can retrofit municipal buildings to drastically improve our City’s carbon footprint,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “After all, electricity use within buildings account for almost a third of our greenhouse gas emissions–emitting almost 17 million electric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year into the very air we breathe.”
The program has identified the first 130 city-owned buildings, such as libraries, fire stations, and recreation centers that provide the maximum energy cost savings, and that are located in low-income communities. This innovative program promotes investment in energy efficiency, water conservation, and green technologies, and is thereby creating a green workforce with a pathway for new jobs in the new green building sector.
Since December 2010, the first 40 workers are now working for the Department of General Services on buildings city-wide and have generated energy cost savings for the city, while training for higher skilled green construction and maintenance jobs.
The city’s Green Retrofit Advisory Council is working closely with the Mayor’s Office to develop financing options that will enable the retrofitting of all city-owned facilities. The city has been authorized to make use of up to $39 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bond funds to broaden the scope of the retrofit program.
Key to the success of this effort has been the strong advocacy of SCOPE – AGENDA which convened the LA Apollo Alliance and urged Councilmember Wesson and Mayor Villaraigosa to find ways to include low income communities in the emerging green economy. The LA Apollo Alliance represents 25 organizations from community, labor and environmental sectors, and continues to be an important ally and strategic partner.