By MIKE LEE
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported on the DC 37 Green Jobs Training Initiative in late April, citing the union’s efforts to “support environmental literacy for public workers,” and discussing DC 37’s commitment to education through the program.
“In order to ensure current public workers are qualified to support New York’s public standards as well as attract new workers to the field, the District Council 37 training fund program instructs participants on the implementation of energy operations and measures in large buildings, including commercial, institutional, and residential spaces,” the report stated.
The DC 37 Education Fund developed the training program and held its first classes in 2021, training qualified workers to become part of a frontline green workforce. The investment is part of the union’s commitment to creating a sustainable New York City.
The program trained 107 students in its first year, including 58 DC 37 members. Students received certifications in Green-oriented subjects, including Environmental Fundamentals, Electric, Mechanical, and Operations & Maintenance — tools central to upgrading buildings and maintenance practices to become more energy efficient.
The program received nearly a half-million-dollar grant from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), according to Stephen Johnson, DC 37 Education Fund Administrator.
“As part of our agreement, NYSERDA selects different contractors to do case studies, and they selected us,” Johnson said. “We’re happy they chose to support us with this grant.”
Afterward, the Center of American Progress highlighted the program for a project reviewing public sector union-government partnerships. The story on the American Progress website, “How States and Unions Can Partner to Build the Public Sector Workforce,” caught the attention of the DOL, which later featured the piece in its quarterly newsletter.
Program Expands This September
Thanks to media attention and NYSERDA’s financial support, Johnson is confident the Green Jobs Training Expansion Program will be a success and will prioritize workers from disadvantaged communities. The program expects to attract participants from communities historically affected by the consequences of climate change and pollution.
Multiple classes will be offered to students throughout the program, including Building Science Fundamentals, Green Professional (GPRO) Fundamentals, Green Economy & Careers Overview, Small Commercial Energy Analyst Training (SCEAT), Mechanical and Electrical Systems, Operations & Maintenance, and Healthy Housing, including Multi-Family buildings, plumbing systems, and construction management.
Each class prepares students for a specific certification exam. Once certified, the student is qualified and potentially hired to work on projects designed for a sustainable, greener New York City.
For more information on the Green Jobs program, the specific courses offered, and what this training can provide, fill out an online application at dc37edfund.org/greenjobs-trainingprogram.