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Detroit, Michigan, needs more people who know how to make buildings more energy efficient. Sitara Govender of the non-profit Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency says there are more energy efficiency jobs available than workers with the skills to fill them.

“And, in part, I think that’s because of the lack of paid job training opportunities,” she says.

Govender says the lack of paid job training makes it hard for low-income people to learn the skills they need.

So in February, her organization launched a pilot program designed to change that. Participants choose one of five different career paths, such as home assessment inspector or weatherization installation technician.

They take courses online and complete 10 weeks of on-the-job training. And they earn industry recognized certifications – all while being paid $15 an hour.

And Govender says that when the program ends, the program provides financial assistance toward employment-related expenses.

“So if they need clothing for their job, if they need transportation, we’re able to provide that support for them,” she says. “And then we do provide connections to employment opportunities after program completion.”

Govender says the paid training, combined with this additional support, can help more low-income people participate in the growing energy efficiency field.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media