MassGreen Initiative, which was established in July 2009 to develop and deliver energy efficiency
Recovery Act Impact: MassGreen Initiative
But this course is different than most weatherization training courses. Instead of learning by sitting in a classroom, MassGreen Initiative built a series of props or "mock ups" which include a simulated attic, basement, front door and windows - essentially every part of a house that the students will need to weatherize.
"Everything here you would find in a house," said Jim Neveu, Director of the MassGreen Initiative. "This is unlike anything that is out there."
According to Neveu, his agency began designing this weatherization training program in the fall of 2009, and as they began to develop its curriculum, they realized they needed props and tools to really make it effective. A $1 million stimulus grant enabled them to do just that.
"ARRA was a godsend," said Neveu. "I don't know how this whole program would have been successful without this money."
MassGreen is located at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), one of the seven sites that will ultimately have the training programs, including the mockups. In addition to STCC, mockups have been built at Greenfield Community College, North Shore Community College and Bristol Community College. MassGreen is currently in the process of developing the program at three more sites: Berkshire Community College, Roxbury Community College and Quinsigamond Community College.
Neveu said that students learn everything they need to know to be weatherization installers from blowing in insulation to sealing basement wind joints to insulating an attic. And they do it all with their hands. "Training used to be students would go to people's houses," said Neveu. "But it was difficult to find people willing to have their house used. You can't just tear people's siding off. Now we bring the house to the student."
As Neveu noted, the weatherization field is growing. "This is a great skill and a great credential to have," he said. "The course gives students the most up-to-date skills. I'm not sure how we would have done it without these mockups. We would have graduated people and they never would have been inside an attic."