Richmond, Cailfornia’s “green collar” job training program, the RichmondBUILD Pre-appreticeship Construction Skills and Green Jobs Training Academy, got a big boost earlier this month when Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) awarded the academy $5,000 during a graduation ceremony. The monetary award comes with the national recognition as a “best practice” training program. The graduating students, thanks to their training with RichmondBUILD, now have the skills needed for careers in the clean and renewable technology sector.
RichmondBUILD is a 14-week intensive training program covering many diverse subjects. Students learn the construction basics–power tools, roofing, basic electrical and welding, framing, safety and first aid–but also learn about various sustainable and renewable topics like solar installation, energy efficiency, and the fundamentals of ecologically-sound construction.
The RichmondBUILD program began in 2007 as a means to train Richmond residents for career opportunities in the areas of sustainable construction and renewable energy. According to ABC, Richmond and its residents took a serious blow during these hard economic times, and the new training and knowledge now possessed by the graduating class provides a unique opportunity for them. Currently, the RichmondBUILD program has a 90% job placement rate for graduates, many of whom find work in green industry, with an average starting wage of about $18 per hour.
On bestowing the award to RichmondBUILD, Jeff Miller, the Director of Public Affairs for Berkeley Lab, praised the program, saying, “RichmondBUILD is an innovative program that provides concrete skills and workforce training for workers who will be a crucial part of constructing the green economy.”