Rebekah Casey, Director, Development & Strategic Partnerships
Sacramento, CA; August 29, 2017 – Youth and adults living in Sacramento’s Promise Zone will get training for careers in the solar industry thanks to a collaborative investment in workforce development by four financial institutions. Citi, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo jointly committed $100,000 to provide clean energy career pathways workshops and real-world solar installation training to high school students and adults who are unemployed or under-employed through GRID Alternatives, a renewable energy technology and job training non-profit in the area.
The Promise Zone is a federal designation creating a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies that gives local leaders tools to improve the quality of life in vulnerable communities. It encompasses 22 square miles of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the city, from Del Paso Heights in the North Area to The Avenues in the South County. More than 30 percent of residents in the Promise Zone have yet to achieve a high school diploma or GED and nearly a quarter of the residents are foreign born with limited English proficiency. Additionally, the Promise Zone has alarmingly high unemployment and mortality rates.
“I am pleased to see another collaborative Promise Zone effort that connects resources to those who need it most,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA). “This grant will help provide career pathways for young people and adults in low-income communities, which is critical in our efforts to ensure that everyone has the ability to be a part of our 21st century clean energy economy.”
This Solar Workforce Initiative will provide up to 60 high school juniors and seniors with career technical education, exposure to the technical aspects of photovoltaic systems and related solar industry career pathways; and 40 adults will receive 100-hours of on-the-job advanced solar installation training through GRID’s Installation Basics Training Program. Grant funds will also support a Solar Career Fair hosted by GRID Alternatives on September 26, 2017.
“I am excited about the opportunities this grant provides to create career pathways for our city’s youth in the growing solar industry,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Furthermore, the collaboration and leadership these banks have demonstrated to make this grant possible will result in meaningful impact to the communities within the Promise Zone.”
The program will address the issues of unemployment in the Promise Zone, as well as the availability of adequately trained workers for the growing clean energy sector in the Sacramento region. The banks’ decision to make a collective investment in Promise Zone initiatives came out of a meeting last year hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to discuss Promise Zone opportunities for Sacramento.
“We’re excited to be part of this new partnership that will help make a significant impact in our efforts to create training and employment opportunities for youth and adults living in the Promise Zone,” said Tyrone Roderick Williams, Director of the Sacramento Promise Zone. “Ultimately, this workforce development collaboration helps achieve our goal of creating good jobs that lead to careers and provide family supporting wages.”
ABOUT GRID ALTERNATIVES
GRID Alternatives North Valley is an affiliate of GRID Alternatives, America’s largest nonprofit solar installer, bringing clean energy technology and job training to underserved communities through a network of community partners and philanthropic supporters. GRID has installed nearly 9,000 solar electric systems for low-income families and affordable housing providers with a combined installed capacity of 33MW, saving $267 million in lifetime electricity costs, preventing 667,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and providing over 33,000 people with solar training.