Powering The Future
By Becca Russell, GRID Alternatives
2018 Inspire Giving Grant Recipient
It’s February 2019 and our GRID Alternatives Natomas office is buzzing with a new cohort of Installation Basics Training participants and with visitors who are observing our Workforce Development program in action. It’s been exactly one year since we kicked off our Inspire Giving project and I can honestly say that “a little is enough, if enough people do it”.
As our Training Officer launches into new curriculum, we can tangibly see the transformation of our Technical Academy over the past year. The curriculum is filled with technical photovoltaic labs, job readiness workshops and test runs to prepare for the following week’s hands-on training at our solar installation site. The new training cohort is filled with participants of many different backgrounds who are joined together with the same goal of accessing a career in the solar and construction industries. We host our colleagues who are visiting from other GRID Alternatives regions, who have traveled to Sacramento to learn from our expanded program that we’ve built through local partnerships.
The 2018 Inspire Giving grant to GRID Alternatives was built upon the vision that good jobs can change lives. We’ve seen the need in our regional labor market grow, with a gap of 7,000 construction workers expected over the next five years. This gap shows an opportunity to place those who are under or unemployed into living wage jobs with tangible career paths. Our work through the 2018 Inspire Giving grant aimed to train those who are living in underserved communities and then connect them with job opportunities.
We made this happen. Inspire Giving, Metro Edge and other Sacramento Metro Chamber members came together to help our Workforce Development program launch the job readiness curriculum, create a workforce advisory council, expand our employer referral program, and grow the reach of our Workforce programs with monthly consultations by an Inspire Giving marketing committee. Throughout the year, we worked with 218 skills-based participants – 84 participated in job readiness workshops, 12 received OSHA safety certifications and 88% of our Installation Basics Training (5-week program) trainees found employment. We also had 30 new employers join our employer referral network.
Now, in 2019, we are set up to increase our ability to connect people who need good jobs with industries that need good people. GRID Alternatives is a leader in making solar power and solar jobs accessible to underserved communities and communities of color. With the support of Inspire Giving, we were able to expand our leadership in making solar job training accessible and careers attainable. We’d sincerely like to thank everyone who contributed in-kind services and support throughout the year. Metro Chamber members volunteered 120 hours throughout a span of activities from serving on committees, leading job readiness workshops and even rolling up their sleeves to help install solar for local, low-income families. We are also thankful for our major 2018 Installation Basics Training supporters – Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and SMUD. This program was directly paired with the Inspire Giving project to ensure our success.
THANK YOU, Sacramento Metro Chamber Foundation for our Inspire Giving opportunity.