Our Green LEEDers Transitional Jobs Program is an energy-wise social venture we are developing. This past year, our Green LEEDers crew worked on 11 home repair projects through the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Department’s Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program. In October, staff and volunteers in our LEEDers for Training program launched a successful “Weatherize Logan Square” campaign, promoting our Green LEEDers service for home improvements. As a result, Green LEEDers is bidding work for more than 20 interested homeowners, and will be making more SARFS repairs in 2012.
Reggie Hamilton, 36, became one of our star Green LEEDers after taking Local Economic and Employment Development Council’s Home Performance: Green Carpentry and Weatherization class last winter. As a carpenter, he wanted to get ahead of the curve by learning greener techniques. He learned how to install solar panels, helped build an energy efficient house, and worked on a total of 15 projects this year. His first and most time-consuming project involved repairing a ceiling that had collapsed due to a water leak saturating the insulation in the home’s attic. “Being on the team made me feel good about the job I was doing, because it was with seniors who were in need,” Reggie said.
Misty LeBlanc, 32, is a testament to how LEED Council is making a difference in people’s lives by providing them with skills to market themselves in this tough economy. She was one of our computer graduates who became the Green LEEDers Program Assistant in late July. When she came to us in January, Misty was receiving welfare, raising a twelve-month-old daughter and could not find a job. Her caseworker suggested she take LEED Council’s seven-week Computer Skills Training program. “When I came here I had absolutely no computer skills,” Misty said. The program was challenging; but she stayed committed, accomplishing her goal to learn Microsoft Office. Our staff also helped her learn how to manage her finances, interview for jobs and work in a professional setting. Now as a Green LEEDer, she sees other students from underprivileged communities go through the program and get jobs. “People will help you here if you want to help yourself,” she said. “I came a long way. And LEED Council came to me with open arms.”
Stay tuned for more news about LEED Council making the green jobs connection.