Green Jobs Program

Oakland Green Jobs Corps Partnership

The Oakland Green Jobs Corps is a job training program providing “green pathways out of poverty” for young adults in Oakland facing barriers to employment. The program will provide job-readiness training, ongoing support services, and on-the-job training, enabling trainees to pursue careers in green industries. The program launched in Fall 2008.

The Partners

  • Laney College: a premier regional community college providing green vocational education.
  • Cypress Mandela Construction Training Program: a renowned pre-apprenticeship program that serves young adults with barriers to employment; has strong connections to the building trades unions.
  • Growth Sector, Inc.: a workforce intermediary connecting employers, government, and community agencies.

The Program

The first cycle of the program will train 40 young adults and will incorporate four stages: recruitment, pre-education and training, green-collar skills training and education, and on-the-job training with green employers.

  • Stage I: Outreach, Recruitment, and Assessment, led by Cypress Mandela, will involve community outreach to recruit low-income young adults in Oakland and will include a College Placement Assessment.
  • Stage 2: Pre-Construction and Basic Skills Training, led by Cypress Mandela, will provide a range of services, including introduction to the skilled trades; carpentry; GED preparation; basic literacy and math; job readiness including resume development, interviewing skills, financial planning; social services and support including driver’s license acquisition, court intervention and record expungement as needed, drug and alcohol counseling, and support in acquiring other needed services such as childcare and financial aid.
  • Stage 3: Laney College Bridge to Solar and Green Construction, led jointly by Laney College and Cypress Mandela, will focus on the education and training specifically needed for green-collar employment. Students will earn community college credit. Education and training will emphasize solar installation, energy efficiency in buildings, green construction, and an introduction to the principles of ecology, environmental sustainability, and environmental justice. Social support and case management continue throughout.
  • Stage 4: Paid Work Experience, On-the-Job Training, led jointly by Cypress Mandela and Growth Sector, will place participants into paid on-the-job training opportunities, and apprenticeships. The program will provide case management and support services for both employers and trainees throughout this phase to maximize retention and success.

Employment Outcomes

The program will place graduates in full time jobs with solar firms and green construction contractors. The typical starting wage in the solar industry is $15 per hour. The wages for starting apprentices in the construction trades range from $12 to $16 per hour. Cypress Mandela has a long history of close relationships with the Alameda County Building Trades Council, the building trades unions, and developers, general contractors, and subcontractors. The Oakland Green Employer Council and PG&E subcontractors will provide other placements, especially those related to solar firms and energy efficiency firms.

Other Stakeholders and Partners

Several other organizations and individuals will have ongoing relationships with the Oakland Green Jobs Corps:

  • Oakland Mayor’s Office: Representing the city’s government, the Mayor’s office will administer the grant and provide leadership to identify additional resources and funding.
  • Oakland Green Employer Council: This is a circle of green-collar employers that have committed to providing trainees with on-the-job training and potential long-term hires.
  • RFP Selection Committee: These five individuals were the expert and neutral committee that selected the winners of the contract. They will continue to evaluate and provide technical assistance for the program.
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Oakland Apollo Alliance: They are the original architects and champions of this program, and will continue to advocate for additional resources and funding.

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