Mayor Wu and PowerCorpsBos Celebrate Graduation of Second Cohort
Today, Mayor Michelle Wu joined PowerCorpsBOS for the graduation ceremony of its second cohort. This event celebrated 30 graduates who have spent the past six months learning about various green industries and skill sets, including urban forestry and energy efficient building maintenance. The graduates' ages range from 18-30 years old and represent the City’s neighborhoods including Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, South End and Jamaica Plain. An ‘earn and learn’ program, PowerCorpsBos pays members to participate in hands-on training and provides them with career readiness support, and connections to employers in green industries.
“PowerCorps is critical in our work to invest in our young people through career pathways and to build a Green New Deal city,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This program serves as a roadmap for our young people by providing livable wages, good benefits, and strong worker protections. Congratulations and thank you to this year's impactful graduating class!”
PowerCorpsBOS is a green jobs program that provides young adults with training, career readiness support, and connections to employers in the green industry. The program is a partnership led by the Worker Empowerment Cabinet and the Environment Department in collaboration with Department of Youth Employment and Opportunity, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families. Modeled after the Philadelphia PowerCorpsPHL program, PowerCorpsBOS expands workforce development for young adults in fields that address pressing environmental challenges. Priority populations to be a part of the program include returning citizens, court-involved residents, youth who have experienced homelessness or housing instability, young people who have been in foster care, and other marginalized communities.
“I am extremely proud of what PowerCorpsBOS was able to accomplish in preparing the young adults in Cohort 2 for the green industry workforce,” said Davo Jefferson, Executive Director of PowerCorpsBOS. “We were able to build some amazing relationships with both employers and community partners, which has helped to position us for great success post graduation. Our participants embraced this training opportunity, were highly engaged in what they were exposed to, and are now eager to see what the next step in their career trajectory will be. Some will return for a second round of advanced training with us, while others will enter the professional space and begin work via connections they developed during their time with PowerCorps. I anticipate bright futures for them all.”
“I am honored to congratulate these 30 incredible young people who have shown great dedication by completing the PowerCorpsBOS program and gaining new skills in the green industry," said Trinh Nguyen, Chief of Worker Empowerment. "The City and its partners continue to create career pathways to prepare Boston's young people for employment opportunities that will allow them to earn a livable wage and I am excited to see the fruits of that labor.”
Earlier this year, PowerCorpBOS announced a new career pathway in building operations in addition to the existing urban forestry pathway. This track was created in partnership with Roxbury Community College (RCC) and A Better City (ABC). Participants were trained for jobs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large buildings by learning skills to maintain building operations at peak efficiency. The curriculum was offered by RCC’s Center for Smart Building Technology in their state of the art lab and included topics ranging from conducting energy audits to maintaining electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems. Eight of the graduates completed this track, earning several certifications including a Building Operator Certification (BOC), Fundamentals in Energy Efficient Building Operations (FEEBO), and a Green Building Professional - Operations and Maintenance (GPRO O&M) certificate.
“I’m incredibly proud of the participants for completing such rigorous coursework and earning multiple credentials during their time at RCC,” said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, Interim President of Roxbury Community College. “RCC’s alumni network has now grown by eight graduates, and I can’t wait to see what their futures hold. We’re proud to have played a role in preparing these graduates to be tomorrow’s leaders in the field of green energy.”
A Better City member businesses and institutions hosted nine trainees in their buildings throughout January to June as part of their building operations pilot, providing in-service learning and employment opportunities. A Better City also provided feedback and lessons learned to ensure future cohorts are enhanced. A Better City members have committed to hosting an additional 12 trainees for the upcoming July-December 2023 building operations cohort. A Better City’s work has been made possible by support from the Linde Family Foundation and the Barr Foundation.
“The building operations pilot is an important example of public private partnerships in action, and illustrates the potential for equitable workforce development” said Yve Torrie, Director of Climate, Energy & Resilience at A Better City. “In six short months, trainees have experienced the exciting possibilities available to them with a career in building operations, and employees understand how the PowerCorpsBOS building operations model can be a tangible pathway into this workforce. We are extremely grateful for this partnership and thank Mayor Wu and her team, Roxbury Community College, and our member companies and institutions for their vision and leadership.”
The remaining 22 graduates completed PowerCorpsBOS’ urban forestry track. Over the last six months, participants assisted 96 acres of public land, removed 68 bags of invasive material, worked with 14 service project partners, planted 43 trees, pruned 54 trees, underwent eight hours of tree climbing training and eight hours of chainsaw training, earned three college credits from UMass Mount Ida in Arboriculture, and talked to 78 employees in the private and public industry.
“Before PowerCorpsBOS, I was working for a construction company as a laborer and a driver, wanting to get into a different industry,” said Lucas Currier. “I was using skills from other jobs to improve myself and apply them to daily life. PowerCorpsBOS gave me an opportunity to learn about the Arboriculture trade and the professionals that work in it. I’ve developed such an appreciation for this kind of work where, 6 months ago, I knew nothing about trees. I will use the skills and knowledge I learned to apply to difficult tasks and life decisions in the future.”
“I have a small child at home that needs my support, so I was looking for a career that had the potential for growth,” said Daymaira Bernard. “Through PowerCorpsBOS, I have learned how to identify hazardous and invasive plants, maintain tree health, and how to care for trees. I have also learned how climate change is affecting my neighborhoods, particularly air quality and Morrissey Boulevard flooding. I am very grateful to have participated in this program. It has given me access to professional development training that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.”
“I am a musical artist, and I was amazed how PowerCorpsBOS could foster my artistic creativity through their culture and mentorship while also giving me workforce-ready experience,” said Breanna Bodden. “My hope for the future is to find a job in the industry. I also want to use my artistic expression and newfound environmental awareness to create pieces that spur people into action to fight climate change.”
The program is accepting applications for the summer 2023 cohort. To be eligible for this program applicants must be 18-30 years old; be a Boston resident; have your high school diploma or its equivalent (GED/HiSET); be unemployed or underemployed and not in college or on a career track; have an interest in outdoor, hands-on training. For questions about the program, contact PowerCorpsBOS@boston.gov.