Nov 21, 2017

I love to see our students succeed. Success to me means my students go from little or no income to a full-time, good paying career. It’s beautiful to see people change their lives, especially when it is those who may have a troubled background.

Quote_james_reyes_blog_featured.pngI began working with Constructing Hope about a year and a half ago. We provide pre-apprenticeship and certification trainings to low income individuals and to those who have been previously incarcerated. When I started, I looked at the curriculum I noticed that there was not a lot of emphasis on clean energy job preparation. I brought in experts to expose our students to these types of career opportunities so they could launch into the workforce knowing their options. We have been highly successful here and hope to continue to grow.

We believe training in clean energy jobs is important because this industry is not going away, it’s growing. It is important to get away from fossil fuels because they are polluting and not renewable. When they are gone, they’re gone. These jobs are sustainable. It is important that legislators fund these industries and the people who want to move away from non-renewable fossil fuels. 

Oregon should continue to be a leader in the transition to a clean energy economy. We are a state built on renewables. We have hydroelectric dams, but what will happen with recurrent drought? We have a diverse set of resources including wind, and geothermal. You can make homes so energy efficient that you can practically heat it by lighting a candle. The sector is growing exponentially. Those of us who have been working in this industry remember when it was difficult to get projects started without any financial incentives available. You have to provide a path for people who want to go that route.

It’s important for Oregon to bolster incentives for creating jobs and deploying these technologies and to continue to decrease our carbon footprint. In the future, we would love to teach tactile skills and provide hands on construction training, but the equipment requires a substantial up front investment. A policy like Clean Energy Jobs could help pay for equipment through job training funds. Our students see these careers as an opportunity. When the students learn about the return on investment renewable energy can bring to a home, they are very interested and embrace the idea.

We would love to see Oregon invest in these job opportunities so folks who are marginalized can break out of the cycle they find themselves in. Our program helps people find a step up. It is difficult out there. It’s important to get people employed with a living wage so that they can help themselves afford to stay and thrive in their communities.