Friday, April 1, 2011

New York Green Job Heroes

Wednesday is often called "hump day" since you are looking at sliding into Friday. This past Wednesday was far from that, it was for me highly motivational.

I was at Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx). They work with the South Bronx and other under-served urban communities to help transform themselves into great sustainable places to live. They do this by providing a collaborative model that addresses environmental, economic and social concerns through policy change, green job training, environmental education and community greening programs.

The centerpiece of Sustainable South Bronx's workforce development is the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) Academy which honored their partners in achievement and success. Miquela Craytor, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, stated, "Today's honorees have been pillars of program and our community, distinguished by their flexibility, commitment and inventiveness in supporting our trainees."

There were five honorees including BrightHome Energy Solutions, but I want to share the stories of the other four that set me soaring the rest of this week.

Million Trees NYC, New York City has a goal to plant one million (1,000,000) trees. That's one new tree for every eight residents of NYC. Additionally, they educate the residents about the positive benefits to the environment and our daily lives. The BEST program has provided trained landscape team members and supervisors for the program who are able to hone their landscaping skills and make New York City greener.

Bronx River Alliance, they are bit by bit cleaning up the Bronx River and making it once again a source of pride. What started out as mission of few has become a full fledged attempt, and they are winning, to make the Bronx River a place where people enjoy a peaceful walk or place to read. Again, the BEST program has trained unemployed South Bronx residents to understand what skills and work it takes to create a greener and cleaner Bronx River.

Central Park Conservancy, operates Central Park in New York City. The park has over twenty-five million visitors each year and needs lots of people to maintain and improve its beauty. And again, the BEST program has been up to the challenge of recruiting, training providing the workers who refine their landscaping skills daily. BEST workers in the park have in the past taken their skills and opened their own landscaping business. This is win win for everyone, a clean park, job training and future job creators!

Finally, the Association of Energy Affordability, Inc. Their mission is to use the principle of energy efficiency to keep housing affordable and livable for low and moderate income residents in New York City. One of their programs is to weatherize multifamily homes to reduce energy costs and make them more comfortable. Through BEST training programs the unemployed receive training in insulating, air sealing and auditing becoming part of the green movement and helping their neighbors save money.

Congratulations to Sustainable South Bronx and the other four honorees! It was great day to hear about heroes on the front line making our lives better!

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