As reported by Mike Moen, Public News Service:
When it comes to “green jobs,” installing solar panels and building wind turbines are often mentioned, and community action agencies in Massachusetts said the field has other career paths, including teams who do key work inside a person’s home.
Agencies work with low-income households on reducing their energy burden.
Mary Knittle, energy director for the Worcester Community Action Council, said it goes beyond helping them secure assistance for monthly bills. She pointed out it includes someone specializing in home weatherization to ensure heating and cooling systems are running efficiently, who will coordinate contractors brought in for upgrades after an assessment.
“We’re going to approach their home and the needs of their home holistically,” Knittle explained. “It’s a great asset, it’s a great comfort and time saver.”
She noted the work is being carried out as newer technology comes on board to reduce the carbon footprint of homes. Agencies around the state emphasized there is strong demand for such services right now, amid higher energy prices and budget pressure from inflation.
Evan Pagliuca, program manager of the Green Jobs Academy for the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, said the training covers several courses for home weatherization, and appeals to people wanting to get their foot in the door and eventually take some big career leaps.
“Our installer training is for people with limited to no skill or background in home weatherization,” Pagliuca noted. “And after that course, within six months, you could come back to take our crew lead course and either work for, like, a larger weatherization company or start your own company.”
The academy works with participants on covering training costs, as well as travel and lodging.
Brendan Delaney, residential energy director for Action Incorporated, which covers a section of northeastern Massachusetts, said as people re-imagine their careers, energy sector work is a nice transition, especially for those already working in the construction trades.
“It’s a completely relatable industry,” Delaney stressed. “The added bonus is you get to see how many people you help. Just the appreciation from our customers for the work that we do for them. It is incredibly rewarding.”
Those seeking more information can email the Massachusetts Association for Community Action at firstname.lastname@example.org.