The first orientation session for a green jobs training program in southwest Detroit drew 40 unemployed or underemployed individuals wanting to taking advantage of the free program.
The inaugural set of training classes will begin in early May, and many who attended the orientation will be enrolled.
“Our goal is to help you find work in the new green economy,” Linda West told the attendees. Linda is one of the leaders of Detroit GreenWorks Solutions, the consortium of local nonprofit organizations providing disadvantaged residents job training and opportunities in weatherization, agriculture and forestry. The consortium is led by Southwest Solutions, where Linda works as the director of the Center for Working Families, based in the Housing Opportunity Center.
“When you complete the program, you will be job-ready,” Linda explained. “You will have the training, the resume, the interview skills and the job leads to secure work in the green industries.”
Laketa Hill, 32, attended the orientation. She was laid off from her job with an auto supplier in late 2007 and has been searching for work diligently since then.
“It is a very discouraging job market, and even when I found an opening, I didn’t have the kind of experience that the employer wants,” Laketa said.
Laketa came to the meeting with her cousin, Shanita Byrd, 35. Both would like to enroll in the landscaping/forestry training program offered by The Greening of Detroit, one of the GreenWorks’ partners. “We hope that the training will give us an edge to get good jobs that will also help to beautify our city and make it a better place to live,” Shanita said.
Mark Rushing, 40, was intrigued by both the landscaping program and the weatherization program through WARM Training.
Currently, Mark works part-time as an aide at Western High School in southwest Detroit. He said he has been working since he was a boy, helping with his father’s landscaping and construction business. His father passed away 12 years ago, and Mark was too heartbroken to continue the family business, a decision that he now regrets.
“I have a lot of hands-on experience, but I don’t have the certification that I need,” Mark said. “I looked into several other training programs, but couldn’t afford them. I came to the orientation today because it is a great opportunity to get a good job and then maybe start my own business someday.”
Detroit GreenWorks Solutions is funded through the “Pathways Out of Poverty” initiative launched by the U. S. Department of Labor using federal “stimulus” dollars. GreenWorks has a $4 million grant to train and place at least 360 individuals in green jobs over the next two years.
Individuals interested in the GreenWorks program must reside in southwest Detroit, meet income eligibility criteria, and fulfill additional requirements. They must fill out a pre-application form.
Mini-orientation sessions are available this week. To learn more about Detroit GreenWorks Solutions and to register for the orientation, call 313.841.9641 x.363 or email us.