LEED Council’s Green LEEDers presented at the 5th annual Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Summit on April 12. The event provided substantial and informative background on opportunities in the green sector of Chicago’s economy and offered a chance to promote the work we have been doing since the inception of our Green Skills training in 2008.
Dean Tripp (left), Associate Director of Green Skills, speaks at one of his regular meetings with the Green LEEDers.
During the summit, we provided historical background about the program. Green LEEDers began in fall 2009 after LEED Council was awarded a contract from the City’s former Department of Environment. Our aim was to develop a green-oriented, transitional jobs program with the goal of doing green construction work and an eye to transitioning the program itself into a social enterprise. The concept included training and work in how to weatherize and retrofit residential buildings up to three stories, as well as work in renewable energy.
Subsequently, a Green LEEDers crew was recruited from our green skills classes, funded by the IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Training included Home Performance: Green Carpentry and Weatherization; Fundamentals of Solar Installation; and Home Energy Auditor Training (HEAT).
Some of the projects the Green LEEDers have since completed include:
- Major home repairs and kitchen remodeling for disabled clients of the Chicago Commons Association;
- Improvements to low income seniors’ homes through the City’s Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program; and
- Home energy assessments and estimation of home performance improvements, as a result of leads generated through door-to-door marketing by Green LEEDers and other LEED Council training alumni as part of a community energy education campaign in Logan Square.
Similar to other construction operations across the country, the Green LEEDers have been challenged to keep busy on a steady basis. But when they are not working in the field, they have remained occupied with intermittent training and facilities improvement projects – which have included building computer skills testing booths, as well as needed maintenance work to the LEED Council offices and training shop. Certain LEEDers, one of whom told his story at the Green Jobs Summit, have also done outreach work as presenters at various green and community events.
Our Green LEEDers program is now into its third year, which started with an award of our second SARFS contract from the City’s Department of Housing & Economic Development. That was followed by a small labor contract with a new affordable housing developer. Additionally we’ve begun to negotiate a contract for a defined piece of work, which is part of a Neighborhood Stabilization project that is in the hands of a prominent “LEEDer-friendly” developer.
Simultaneous with these activities and in anticipation of expiration of our original contract from the City’s Department of Environment, the Green LEEDers Program has also begun taking its first steps to becoming a social enterprise, under the guidance of our Board’s new Social Venture Advisors. This transition started with volunteer and staff research of other similar programs and exploration of free resources to help with a founding of a new entity. This has led to developing criteria for just what the Green LEEDers Program should logically become — an evolving vision of an “energy-wise construction enterprise”
For information or to solicit a bid for work, please contact Dean Tripp at (773) 929-5552 x231 or firstname.lastname@example.org