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Karen Hornstein Shapiro is a Program Analyst in the Women’s Bureau’s national office.  She is currently the team lead for “A Woman’s Guide to Green Jobs,” a publication being created to provide women workers and workforce professionals with resources and information on how women can take advantage of opportunities in the green economy.

Based on yesterday's question: what needs to be done to encourage women to enter these fields?--The Women’s Bureau decided to ask its constituents.

In a series of nationwide roundtable discussions, we asked over 1,200 participants including federal, state and local officials, women business owners, union leaders, tradeswomen and other women’s organizations, educators, green industry representatives, and workforce development professionals.  We learned a lot from these events – ideas like how important it is for interested women to have mentors and role models, linking training programs with employment, and educating women on all kinds of jobs available – “blue-collar,” white-collar” and entrepreneurship opportunities.  We heard that if we don’t outreach and market green jobs to women, they aren’t likely to consider them as job options.

As a result of these roundtables, the Bureau developed nine green training projects around the country and we’re also in the process of developing “A Woman’s Guide to Green Jobs.”  Keep an eye on the Women’s Bureau’s website for more information about the green guide soon.

If you are interested in learning more about green jobs for women visit our website for our upcoming teleconference on March 15 from 12:00-1:30 PM EST on “Why is Green Good for Women?”

The Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE-WAP) has posted a brand new, national curriculum for weatherization workers training. This is great news - DOE has now provided a consistent training baseline for Weatherization, nationwide!

Download the curricula at:

DOE-WAP provides a "Core Competency" description for all levels of weatherization worker. To become an installer or installer DOE provides a full training plan. Training modules, instructor lesson plans and suggested training schedules are downloadable.

The Department of Energy does not provide testing or certification for workers who take this training. To become certified, you will still need to take and pass an exam offered through one of several recognized, nationally accredited institutions, such as the Building Professionals Institute (BPI). (The WAP site also lists educational providers, training centers and a free downloadable software tool, "The Weatherization Audit Assistant" that you may want to look over. See:

Here are some new resources available on the Green CoP:

New Mexico Green Jobs Cabinet Report
New Mexico has released the Green Jobs Cabinet Report which identified five major goals necessary for maximizing the state’s green economy potential, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and green workforce education. The Governor also issued an executive order which directs state agencies to help meet these goals. For example, the Department of Workforce Solutions will be asked to convene a Green Industry Council to help establish curricula in the public education system, among other tasks. The governor has also announced the release of a Green Jobs Guidebook, which provides information on green careers, education requirements and opportunities as well as other resources for those seeking green economy jobs.

Mapping Green Career Pathways: Job Training Opportunities and Infrastructure
The Apollo Alliance and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce have teamed up to identify components of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin's workforce development infrastructure that can be better integrated and scaled up to help fill jobs in the clean energy sector. The reports, Mapping Green Career Pathways: Job Training Opportunities and Infrastructure, recommend strengthening existing training infrastructures to build workers’ skills to fill green-collar jobs that are being created in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are projected to account for 55 percent of all new jobs in the emerging renewable energy and efficiency industries. According to the reports, many of the elements of a green training infrastructure already exist in each state, but there are still gaps along the green career pathway that must be filled through stronger, more integrated training programs.

How can we learn about what green skills are new or in demand in economically important industries?

The Competency Model Clearinghouse (CMC) is an Employment and Training Administration (ETA) -sponsored website that provides information about and access to industry competency models.  The fifteen models published on the Competency Model Clearinghouse contain many green competencies, demonstrating that these industries already see the value of encouraging green practices in their workers. 

For example, the Residential Construction Competency Model currently includes a Green Building Practices section, reflecting the growing importance of weatherization, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.  To view these competency models and other industry models containing green competencies, visit the Competency Model Clearinghouse at

Do you have resources describing new and emerging green skills or competencies?  Submit them to this blog or use the share content feature here:


Recently, a webinar was held, featuring the O*NET Report, "Greening the World of Work: Implications for O*NET SOC and New and Emerging Occupations." This Webinar highlights findings from the O*NET Program's report Greening the World of Work: Implications for O*NET- SOC and New and Emerging Occupations. The report describes the O*NET program's efforts to define the green economy; describe green industry sectors and identify different types of green occupations including green new and emerging occupations. The Webinar also presents how this new green information has been incorporated into O*NET products and tools to help workforce development professionals, educators, and individuals learn about and use the most current information on the green economy and green occupations.

Here are some links to the materials:

O*NET Report

O*NET Report Webinar

Discussion thread about the Report and Webinar

O*NET Online
Karen Hornstein Shapiro is a Program Analyst in the Women’s Bureau’s national office.  She is currently the team lead for “A Woman’s Guide to Green Jobs,” a publication being created to provide women workers and workforce professionals with resources and information on how women can take advantage of opportunities in the green economy.

When government first started talking about green jobs about a year ago, my first thought was – what exactly is a green job?   And since I work for the Women’s Bureau, my second thought was – are green jobs good for women?  Since March is Women’s History Month, we thought it would be a good time to share some of what’s going on with women and green jobs.

The first question has been a tough one to answer, but you see a lot of references on this site, like the Occupational Information Network’s (O*NET) research on the green economy, Greening of the World of Work: Implications for O*NET-SOC and New and Emerging Occupations.

You may be asking why there needs to be a specific focus on women and green jobs, which is a fair question.  Secretary Solis and the Women’s Bureau believe that it’s important to help create good jobs for all women.  Many green jobs pay well, such as environmental engineering technicians and those in green construction.  But plenty of these are also considered nontraditional for women, meaning there are less than 25% women in them.  Good green jobs also allow workers to start at different skill levels and offer opportunities for advancement.  With women now representing almost 50% of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the real question becomes - what needs to be done to encourage women to enter these fields?  What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

This blog is from Jane Weissman who has been the Executive Director of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) since 1994.  IREC is a nonprofit organization celebrating its 28th anniversary.  IREC is the North American Licensee for the ISPQ Accreditation of Renewable Energy Training Programs and the Certification of Trainers. 

Many of us who have been in the trenches pushing hard for clean and renewable energy resources might have finally gotten what we've wished for.  Public and political will are supportive of a "green" economy.  New companies and organizations are fast to enter the market.  There is anticipation of many new green jobs.  Enrollment for green training is at an all-time high.  Great.  Now, let's not jump off a cliff in our rush to train the green workforce.

We need to move quickly but with caution, efficiency and attention to detail.

We held the third national conference on Workforce Education for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency two months ago in Albany.  Large crowd.  High energy.  We heard from community colleges, skill centers, training organizations, the trades, and other educational providers.  We came away with some clear themes and challenges.  There needs to be a reasonable  balance between training  and job opportunities -- let's not glut the market with trained practitioners but few jobs.  Critical to success are regular interactions between employers and training providers  -- let's make sure we're teaching the courses for the jobs that are out there.  More instructors are needed -- those who are good teachers with practical experience.  Train-the-trainer programs are gaining traction while hands-on training needs more time at the job site.  And, quality assurance and competency standards are the underpinning for a strong, green workforce.

This last point is really important.  Third-party verification through licensing and well-developed credentialing schemes provide objective assurances of competency.  With the proliferation of training programs, there needs to be guarantees that the right skill sets are being taught.  Poor workmanship becomes a safety issue and erodes consumer confidence.  Students should have a realistic understanding of what kinds of jobs they are being trained for and what additional  jurisdictional requirements they might need.

The planets are pretty much aligned -- public support, good policies, funding sources, and momentum.  Moving forward, how do we make sure that the green economy doesn't get a black eye?

Recovering the Region 5 economy

Don't miss the opportunity to connect with Heartland 2010 presenters and participants!

We will be posting many of our upcoming Conference sessions. Share your ideas and best practices, post your comments and help build an interactive learning community.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) Region 5, in conjunction with the Great Lakes Employment and Training Association (GLETA), is hosting the Heartland Conference to be held April 7-9, 2010 in Chicago, IL at the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel.

What is the Heartland Conference?
The Heartland Conference is a comprehensive technical assistance and training event to support reemployment and economic growth in the Midwest through the exchange of innovative ideas and practices; the display of cutting-edge tools and technology; and the sharing and analysis of the latest information from the Administration. Sessions, guest speakers, and activities have been developed to assist the workforce system in improving customer services and improving program performance.  Today’s economy presents the workforce and economic development world with challenges it has not faced in decades. This event will present a wide array of strategies to assist with meeting and overcoming today’s challenges. It will provide a forum for partnering and networking with leaders from all facets of workforce and economic development.

Green Related Workshop (feel free to ask questions specific to the workshop):
Forming Partnerships in a Green World 
(DOL- ETA, Institute for Career Development, OAI, Inc., McClean County YouthBuild)

With the introduction of green job investments across the region, workforce investment boards and their partners have been charged with redefining existing partnerships and forming new ones.  This session will provide an overview of DOLETA green investments in the region and will provide the audience with knowledge that will allow them to form partnerships among education, workforce and green industry to improve customer service and performance.  Three DOLETA Grren Job Initiative grantees will discuss innovative ways to forge new relationships and identify challenges and successes in green job training.



On January 20, 2010, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced nearly $190 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The "State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants " — as the group of funding awards is known —are designed to teach workers the skills required in emerging industries, including energy efficiency and renewable energy. This set of green grants is the third awarded in as many weeks by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Through the State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants being administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, 34 projects ranging from approximately $2 to $6 million, were made to state workforce investment boards in partnership with their state workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards or regional consortia of boards, and One-Stop Career Center delivery systems. Through the grant awards announced today, program participants will receive the technical and occupational skills necessary to obtain industry recognized credentials.

These grants are designed to achieve the following goals:

  • Create an integrated system of education, training and supportive services that promotes skill attainment and career pathway development for low-income, low- skilled workers leading to employment in green industries.
  • Support states in implementing a statewide energy sector strategy including governors' overall workforce visions, state energy policies and training activities that lead to employment in targeted industry sectors.
  • Build and strengthen partnerships dedicated to building a skilled clean energy workforce.
  • Develop new partnerships with other agencies receiving Recovery Act funds to support strategic planning and implementation efforts.

These grants are part of a larger Recovery Act initiative — totaling $500 million — to fund workforce development projects that promote economic growth by preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency industries .

Click the link for more information regarding the State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants including a list of grant recipients and descriptions of grants awarded.

To view a video by Secretary Solis, visit

This is a blog written by Kerry L. Smyser, Redevelopment Project Manager for DCHA, Office of Planning & Development.

In March 2008 the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) was notified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that its application for a HOPE VI grant to revitalize the former public housing site, Sheridan Terrace (renamed Sheridan Station), located in Washington DC’s Ward 8 community, was  accepted.

At the time of its application, DCHA stated the project would meet all of the Enterprise Green Community standards and would seek, if feasible, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. DCHA also committed to construct 344 units of which 229 will be affordable (rental and homeownership).  As the project began seeking financing commitments, the credit market changed drastically and cast doubt on our ability to complete the project as originally intended – an energy efficient and green housing community.  It was at this time that HUD announced a competitive process for constructing energy efficient and green sustainable projects.  DCHA was confident that Sheridan Station was such a project and submitted an application.  In September 2009 HUD awarded a $5.8 million grant for Sheridan Station Phase I (104 unit multi-family building and 10 single-family rental units).

DCHA is working with the community to establish a Community Benefits and Labor Agreement.  The goal of all parties involved is to secure careers in construction, not just a job on this project, for former residents of Sheridan Terrace as well as residents of Ward 8.  Currently, DCHA is working with the Brick & Allied Crafts Local Union 1 to provide weatherization and green training at their international training center in Bowie, MD.

Through its Community and Supportive Services Program (CSSP) provider, Wheeler Creek, DCHA works closely with the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES).  The DOES provides job training, resume building and placement services for residents.  DCHA is committed to providing 75 Section 3 positions in the HOPE VI application and expects to meet the goal. 

Under the current system for hiring District residents at Sheridan Station, the developer notifies DCHA and Wheeler Creek a position is available.  Wheeler Creek then contacts qualified former residents of Sheridan Station, (those qualified by previous job experience or training); if there are no qualified former residents then Wheeler Creek will look for qualified applicants in other HOPE VI projects.  If Wheeler Creek can not find a qualified applicant, DCHA will then look through its pool of qualified residents and make a referral; if no referral is made from the DCHA pool the sub-contractor can then reach out to DOES.

Phase I of Sheridan Station is scheduled to break ground in April 2010.  It is expected that all positions required by sub-contractors will be identified by the end of February 2010 and we can then begin to work with Wheeler Creek and the community to hire former residents and residents of Ward 8 to work on the project.  

In subsequent blogs, we will hear from staff at the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) and receive periodic updates on the efforts to “green” Sheridan Station and the interaction between the housing authority and employment services as they work together to recruit, train and place residents in good, sustainable jobs.

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