WE ACT’s Green Institute Workforce Development Program


WE ACT’s Green Institute: Taking Workforce Development to the Next Level

Good Jobs Are Essential for a Healthy Community
Today’s high poverty and unemployment rate in Northern Manhattan is caused by decades of poor and often racist public policy around jobs, housing, homeownership, education, policing, and more. And climate change is exacerbating the issue, widening existing social and economic inequalities in our community and others like it.

In the wake of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, an extreme weather event that impacted New York City’s low-income communities and communities of color particularly hard, WE ACT relaunched and expanded its free Worker Training program thanks to input from the community and funding from the New York State Department of Labor. The goal of the program is to provide a pathway for equitable employment in these communities as we work to combat climate change.

Focusing on the perennially healthy construction industry, the classes have evolved over the years to include the now mandatory Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 30-hour Construction Industry Outreach, Building Performance Institute Multifamily Building Operator, Solar Photovoltaic Installation, and Flagging & Scaffolding. WE ACT has trained more than 800 unemployed and underemployed members of the community to date, enabling them to earn certifications free-of-charge that had previously served as cost-prohibitive barriers to careers in the construction industry.

WE ACT’s Green Institute
In 2023, WE ACT rebranded its workforce development program, launching WE ACT’s Green Institute. The mission remains the same, training and connecting local residents to good paying jobs in the green economy. What’s changed is the depth and breadth of the program, expanding the services offered as well as the opportunities available.

In addition to the 30-hour OSHA Certificate and Site Safety Training required for entry-level positions in the construction industry, along with Solar Photovoltaic Installation certification, WE ACT’s Green Institute also offers training for free 60-hour energy efficiency technical training to earn GPRO Fundamentals of Building Green Certification. And soon we’ll be adding training for off-shore wind work.

However, these certifications are just the entry requirements for these jobs. That’s why WE ACT’s Green Institute is offering professional development workshops designed to help you navigate the application and hiring process as well as ways to advance your career once you are employed.

WE ACT’s Green Institute is open to everyone aged 18-years and older, regardless of background. All applicants will undergo interviews, evaluations, and a screening/selection process.

To learn more, contact Charles Callaway at charles@weact.org or 917-561-7209. And click here to register for upcoming training sessions.



Many thanks to West Harlem Development Corporation
for generously supporting our Worker Training Program

We have also started a Worker Training Working Group to help those in the program better prepare for entering the job market. And this has led to the formation of a Northern Manhattan Solar Cooperative to help our trainees become entrepreneurs in the fast-growing solar field. Contact Charles Callaway at charles@weact.org for more information.

Click here to see testimonials from local residents who have participated in our Worker Training and Job Readiness program.

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