Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
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Media Advisory
News Date: April 07, 2022

City of Columbus Announces New Clean-Energy Jobs Program

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther today announced that the City of Columbus is allocating $1.5 million to IMPACT Community Action to implement Empowered! – a new clean-energy jobs program geared toward Columbus residents ages 18-24. The program will provide training and on-the-job experience for careers in the clean-energy sector and focus on recruiting participants from communities of color and women in Opportunity Neighborhoods.

“Addressing climate change is about more than reducing carbon emissions. It is also about expanding opportunity, promoting upward mobility and elevating quality of life,” said Mayor Ginther. “A sustainable future must also be a prosperous future, and I look forward to seeing Empowered!’s impact in our city’s Opportunity Neighborhoods as well as across the entire community.”

Funding will support three cohorts of program participants over the next year, providing training to establish the skills and knowledge needed to be a competitive candidate for full-time employment within the clean-energy sector. Training will also highlight career exploration; digital literacy; diversity, equity and inclusion; and wraparound services.

Additionally, Empowered! participants will receive on-the-job experience as Energy Advocates, helping residents navigate and better understand energy efficiency and the range of energy programs available to them. They will also perform low-level energy audits and simple energy upgrades such as LED-bulb replacement. Participants will be paid $17 per hour as Energy Advocates and receive compensation for their training.

“Given our extensive history and successful outcomes with our home weatherization and energy advocate programs as well as our work with young people, IMPACT is excited to launch the Empowered! jobs program,” said Teresa Gary, vice president of workforce programs at IMPACT Community Action. “This program will be an innovative addition to our current workforce programs aligning with emerging green jobs that are creating opportunities for workers to enter careers that offer good wages and pathways to long term job growth and prosperity.”

Upon completion of the program, Empowered! graduates will be placed in pre-apprenticeships or apprenticeships, or directly employed in fields such as weatherization, construction, utilities, solar installation and manufacturing.

Brad DeHays, owner and founder of Connect Housing Blocks, emphasized Empowered!’s importance to the local labor force. “We at Connect Housing Blocks are excited about Empowered! and its potential to help diversify the construction and manufacturing sectors. These industries must scale to help provide the infrastructure Columbus needs as it grows, and the development of a diverse workforce is critical in meeting that goal.”

Of the $1.5 million being allocated for Empowered!, $300,000 is from the city’s Clean Energy Columbus program and its Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund, which is funded annually by the city and AEP Energy as part of the energy aggregation’s supply agreement.

“Getting young people interested in the energy industry now is vital for our future. These are important jobs that take hard work and time learning from experienced mentor to master,” said Marketta Franklin, director of learning and development for AEP. “Through this effort, we are helping secure workers for the future and ensuring that our workforce is built with members of the communities we serve.”

Empowered! advances both the Columbus Climate Action Plan and environmental justice by supporting those communities most impacted by climate change. To read more about the Climate Action Plan and Sustainable Columbus, visit