- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG Campbell Awards $1.25 Million for Clean Energy Workforce Development Programs in Merrimack Valley
Max German, Deputy Press Secretary
Boston — Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony have awarded $1.25 million from the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund to the Greater Lawrence Technical School and Green Jobs Academy to assist in the development and implementation of clean energy workforce development programs. Both of these programs will benefit residents and communities affected by the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions.
“I, along with the team, remain in awe of the resiliency of Merrimack Valley residents, and we will continue to support them and organizations addressing the aftermath of the explosion, including funding vital jobs and workforce training opportunities as we transition to a clean economy,” said AG Campbell.
“It's been inspiring to watch the Lawrence community come together in the wake of tragedy to build anew. Funding clean energy workforce development is a win-win: we need more workers powering this transition, and these are good paying jobs that will be an economic driver for communities like Lawrence. I've been proud to partner with Lawrence leaders in my time working at the Attorney General's Office and now at the Department of Energy Resources,” said DOER Commissioner Mahony.
The workforce development programs are designed to create opportunity and help address a significant need for clean energy workers as Massachusetts accelerates its transition toward a clean energy economy. As noted in the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) for 2050, in order to achieve its 2050 climate goals, the state will need more than 65,000 new full-time clean energy workers. The Greater Lawrence Technical School and Green Jobs Academy programs receiving funds through the AG’s Office and DOER will play an important role helping build a diverse clean energy workforce in the Merrimack Valley region.
“With this grant from Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell and the Dept. of Energy Resources, South Middlesex Opportunity Council’s Green Jobs Academy (GJA), along with our community partner, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, will be able to recruit, train and support more individuals for in-demand careers in the weatherization and energy efficiency industry,” said Susan Gentili, CEO and President of SMOC. “We are truly grateful for this grant that will allow GJA to expand our efforts throughout Merrimack Valley to build a more diverse clean energy workforce for the future.”
“Greater Lawrence Technical School is grateful for this award which will allow us to open career opportunities for our diverse students – both high schoolers and adults – in the clean energy industry,” said GLTS Superintendent John Lavoie. “Funds will be used to build career awareness and support internships, which will complement our existing technical education, so students are prepared to thrive as we transition to a clean energy economy. Our mission is to prepare students for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. We’re proud to be selected to prepare the workforce for a clean energy future.”
According to its proposal, Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS) will use the funding to create programs with both in-class and internship components, providing real world experience to future clean energy workers. GLTS’s Clean Energy Education Program (CEEP) Workshop Program will be incorporated into existing technical study programs and focus on clean energy careers in the technical area being studied, as well as additional clean energy topics such as greenhouse gas emissions impacts; programs to lower emissions; barriers to electrification and energy efficiency and methods to remove such barriers. The GLTS Workshop Program will enroll up to approximately 250 students annually, including adult learners and seniors enrolled in GLTS’s “After Dark” Program, which enrolls students who attend district schools during the regular school day and technical programs later in the day. A separate in-depth Semester Program will prepare GLTS students for entry-level clean energy jobs, enrolling up to 100 students annually. Job seeking skills development will also be provided to all CEEP participants.
Greater Lawrence Technical School will also implement a Learn and Earn Internship Program that will be offered in conjunction with the CEEP. The Learn and Earn Internship Program will provide up to 60 individuals with the opportunity to be placed in internships with local clean energy contractors. This program will prepare participants to be hired as full-time permanent employees and encourage employers to hire interns in long term/permanent roles. The program will last 12 weeks and provide wage reimbursement.
With its grant award, Green Jobs Academy (GJA) proposes to provide weatherization training programs to help both students seeking employment as insulation installers and existing installers seeking to advance their careers as crew leads. The Weatherization Bootcamp Training will be offered quarterly to 16 students over the course of the program. This 2-week program will prepare students to secure entry-level installer positions with home weatherization contractors. The training will cover several topics, including workplace safety, weatherization, resume and cover letter writing, and interview skills. The program will conclude with a networking session with weatherization contractors. Those who successfully complete training will receive a weekly stipend.
As proposed, GJA’s Crew Lead Training program will focus on technical and people management skills and is intended for weatherization installer technicians with at least 6 months of experience who wish to advance as crew leads, managing a team of weatherization workers in the field. This one-week course will be offered monthly and will serve 22 students. GJA will partner with the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council on participant outreach, recruitment, and the provision of wraparound services.
All grant-funded programs will be taught by bilingual instructors or with bilingual paraprofessionals. Additionally, wraparound services such as meals, childcare, and transportation will also be provided to certain GLTS and GJA program participants.
Funding for these workforce development grants comes from the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund, created from a settlement agreement with Columbia Gas for the company’s role in the Merrimack Valley gas explosions. Money from this Fund is jointly administered by the AG’s Office and DOER to finance a variety of clean energy and energy efficiency programs through direct grants and competitive requests for proposals, leveraging existing programs and local partnerships.