After nearly a year of planning, fund-raising, and meeting with the twenty-plus partners that make up the Beloved Community Center Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina, we signed the contract with the Guilford County JobLink Workforce Development Office to begin the Pathways to Green Career program.
We, Beloved Community Center, are a small non-profit with a history of social justice work. We decided to do a green job training program because we see sustainability, employment, and social justice as inextricably linked. We have been able to use our deep ties with Greensboro neighborhoods and churches, as well as major institutions, to put the program together.
Pathways to a Green Career will educate twenty Greensboro job seekers between the ages of eighteen and twenty four about working in the green economy and the opportunities it presents. With help from experts in weatherization, building, and job training, we designed a six-week class that integrates three main subjects into a comprehensive program: green work readiness, green career education, and green community building.
Participants will receive certifications in:
1. weatherization retrofitting skills,
2. community gardening skills and
3. the Equipped for the Future (EFF) National Work Readiness credentials.
Upon successful completion of the program, youth will be provided with a paid internship. JobLink and the Beloved Community Center partnered with local companies, including an energy auditor company, landscapers, NC A&T Farms, general contractors, and the City of Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department to offer internships. The JobLink program will supplement employers who hire our candidates for 200 hours of work at $8.00 per hour. We are asking the employers to kick in an additional $4 per hour to support a living wage.
The program is slated to start March 22nd and run through April 30th. If you are interested, enroll online or visit the JobLink office in person. On Friday, March 19th we will kickoff with a social orientation at Beloved Community Center.
In this ongoing blog feed, we plan to chronicle how this training unfolds, the philosophy behind it, and what lessons we learn. We are so excited about the possibilities of this program.
Joyce Johnson and Nelson Johnson of Beloved Community Center are Mel King Community Fellows at MIT CoLab.