Boston: Recipients of Grants for Green and Mobility Jobs Announced

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Today, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the recipients of the City's Catalyst Grants for Green Job and Mobility Training, to help connect residents with career opportunities in the green economy. This grant program is a part of Boston's equitable and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding gives Boston residents and organizations the resources and tools to invest in critical workforce development to benefit our communities and economy for years to come.

"As a coastal city vulnerable to rising seas and extreme heat, Boston must be a national leader in driving a just transition to a green economy," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "As we work to create a city Green New Deal, this is just the beginning of green workforce development for all Boston residents, delivering short and long-term benefits to Boston's hardest hit communities."

The catalyst grant funding was made possible through the American Rescue Plan, a federal stimulus package to assist cities in their equitable recovery from COVID-19 while centering the needs of residents. The City of Boston's FY22 operating budget commits direct grants to programs that are training and placing individuals in green jobs and in direct grants to programs for mobility jobs. This grant complements the City's announcement for the Youth Green Jobs Training Program, a partnership to provide career development opportunities for young people who are unemployed or underemployed, in green jobs and careers that help prepare for the impacts of climate change. These programs serve the dual purpose of supporting residents who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic by enhancing public health and economic opportunity.

"Climate change is a significant threat to Boston residents but it also presents us with an opportunity to employ people in good paying jobs that put them at the front line of protecting our city." said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. "I am enthusiastic to see the projects that these organizations complete and the ways they support Boston's environmental and economic justice goals."

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"Moving to a green transportation system will require new skills and investments that will create new career opportunities for all Bostonians," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. "To make progress towards our climate goals, we need to invest in a workforce that is ready to maintain bikes and bike infrastructure, prepare buildings for electric vehicles, and support shared transportation services, from public transit to electric scooters."

"These grants are proactive in combating the ever-present effects of climate change while also addressing the need to provide career development opportunities for our underrepresented communities," said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. "Utilizing the funding to invest in these job training programs will aid in establishing a robust green economy that benefits all of our communities in the City of Boston."

The City has awarded the distribution of $614,962 to four organizations to provide training and placement services to prepare and connect Boston residents to green and mobility job opportunities. These organizations include Bikes Not Bombs, Benjamin Franklin Institute, Building Pathways Inc., X-cel Conservation Corps, and Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation. The City of Boston is working to support and enhance existing training programs and programs to increase diversity in the building trades through upskilling and incumbent worker training. The four grant recipients will work to develop jobs for Boston residents including youth, those recovering from substance use, individuals experiencing homelessness, residents recently incarcerated, women and people of color from under-represented neighborhoods, and those who are underemployed/ unemployed.

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"With the City of Boston's funding, Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) will give Boston youth the opportunity for apprenticeship, skill building, and career development. BNB uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change – and this funding will open the door for Black and marginalized Boston residents to achieve economic mobility, build relationships, and work towards a healthier Boston," said Elijah Evans, Executive Director of Bikes Not Bombs.

"Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology's HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration) Technology program offers state-of-the-art technical training that leads to jobs in the clean energy sector," said BFIT President and CEO Aisha Francis. "We are thrilled to be working with our partners St. Francis House and the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services' Access to Recovery Program who are similarly committed to provide people facing barriers to employment with a pathway to a green-economy career that offers strong salaries and growth opportunities. Program participants come from diverse backgrounds, including those who are in recovery from addiction and/or homelessness."

"We know that 86,000 buildings in Boston need to be retrofitted to achieve carbon neutrality. We also know that with this challenge is the opportunity to expand workforce opportunities for underrepresented communities. The funding will support our Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program to prepare Boston residents for family-sustaining green careers in the building trades," said Mary Vogel, Executive Director of Building Pathways.

"As a result of COVID-19, many Boston residents have faced unemployment. Green infrastructure and wastewater management is critical - and as Boston works to become more sustainable, the fields are constantly evolving with new opportunities for employment," said Don Sands, Executive Director of X-Cel Education.

"We are looking forward to utilizing the City of Boston's funding to provide training for residents who are eager to learn, work, and open the door for opportunities," said Danilo Morales, Eco-Innovation Specialist of the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation.

This distribution of funds reinforces the Wu Administration's commitment to a Boston Green New Deal and creating accessible careers of the future for Boston's residents. Recently, Mayor Wu signed her first ordinance to divest City-funds from the fossil fuel, tobacco, and private prison industries. Additionally, Mayor Wu announced new, lower community choice electricity rates and outlined steps to reduce vehicle emissions and electrify the City fleet. The City Council recently voted in favor of Mayor Wu's proposed appropriation order for $8 million in federal funds to eliminate fares on the 23, 28 and 29 MBTA bus routes for a two-year period.

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