As a co-founder of Emerald Cities Seattle, Sage won several key agreements to promote energy efficiency retrofits as a means of creating green job opportunities for workers traditionally left out of construction jobs.
Two of the biggest challenges currently facing our communities are recovering from the highest unemployment since the Great Depression are 1.) There are not enough trained workers to weatherize buildings on the scale necessary to meet climate protection goals. 2.) At the same time, communities of color have been hit hard by the economic crisis and are often excluded from good jobs during good times.
Remarkably, one solution—energy efficiency retrofits, like adding insulation and weather stripping—helps address both problems simultaneously, while also saving money for families, businesses and government.
In 2009, Puget Sound Sage co-founded Emerald Cities Seattle, a partnership of labor, business, environmental and community organizations to promote energy efficiency retrofits to create quality “green job” opportunities for workers traditionally left out of construction jobs.
Green jobs include installation of insulation, new windows, weather stripping, and more efficient heating and air conditioning equipment.
Together, Sage and the Green Jobs Coalition won several key agreements:
- In 2009, the City of Seattle decided on an agreement, which ensured that 75% of jobs created by the City’s Homewise program retrofitting low-income homes, would go to disadvantaged workers graduating from community-based construction training programs.
- Seattle City Council approved a Community High Road Agreement for the City's Community Power Works (CPW) program, which ensured quality training, living wages, and career pathways for low-income residents and disadvantaged workers. The CPW program invested $140 million in energy efficiency retrofits, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 169,700 tons, and provided more than 11,266 jobs.
- Evergreen Jobs Act: Sage joined environmental and labor groups in Olympia to pass legislation targeting federal energy efficiency funding for jobs benefitting veterans, low-income and disadvantaged populations, and ensuring job quality standards.