Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) Northwest is committed to supporting community needs. Our work is guided by the understanding that equitable environmental policies and funding opportunities should communities in the lead. In our work, this means promoting equity in clean energy, running workforce development programs that support BIPOC communities’ inclusion in clean energy trades, and prioritizing minority contractor development. Our work has had strong multi-sector support and collaboration with government agencies, labor, businesses, environmental organizations, affordable housing owners and training providers.
Some early achievements in ECC Northwest include Community Workforce Agreements, which created career and business opportunities for BIPOC communities. In 2015, ECC Seattle launched the RENEW retrofit program for the affordable housing sector. Collaborating with the workforce development sector, ECC Seattle launched a career entry program for HVAC technicians and building engineers in 2018. E-Contractor Academy and support services program supporting minority businesses in 2020. The region has also focused on and led efforts to deeply embed equity in building electrification, focusing our outreach on grassroots organizations with ties to communities.
Emerald Cities Northeast has an Advisory Committee to support our work in training contractors. We will be expanding it to accommodate our expansion into workforce development and geographic expansion to NH and other parts of MA.
Local Programs and Initiatives
The field of HVAC/R is experiencing a regional worker shortage affecting residential indoor comfort companies, commercial mechanical companies, property managers, and other firms that employ HVAC/R technicians/mechanics and building engineers. Meanwhile, the HVAC/R field generally lacks significant gender and racial diversity. The ECC HVAC/R Training & Career Preparation Academy creates opportunities in the HVAC/R trade for women, veterans, low-income individuals and BIPOC community members. The academy, designed to fit in with full time work, is a 12 week program consisting of evening lectures and weekend laboratory sessions. It is ideal for those looking to start a new career in residential and small commercial HVAC, or building operations, to support growth within an HVAC/R or maintenance job, to introduce HVAC as a potential business start-up, and to provide a path to apprenticeship.
Program Manager: Winnie Wakaba
For more information about work being done in the region, feel free to reach out to the Northwest team.