Washington, DC, Unveils Nation's First Green Collar Job Training

September 28, 2010

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Councilmember At-Large Kwame Brown recently joined the Green Builders Council of DC, a coalition of more than 30 local builders and developers, to unveil the nation's first green collar job training curriculum for the Washington, DC, area construction industry.

The curriculum will train current construction workers, plus Career and Technical Education students entering the District's construction trades programs, in environmentally sensitive construction methods and green building rating systems as certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard. Thanks in part to the leadership of the members of the Green Builders Council of DC more than 100 buildings in the District, totaling over 120 million square feet, are already LEED certified. Including planned projects, members of the Green Builders Council will be responsible for more than 200 million square feet of LEED certified construction in the District. Upon successful completion of this curriculum, students will earn industry recognized credentials that can help them gain employment at these and other green building projects across the District.

"The demand for District residents who can fill green collar jobs is only expected to grow. Now DC workers and Career and Technical Education students will be able to gain a valuable skill set that will benefit their careers and our city's green future," said Mayor Fenty.

"Now, when people ask me what a green collar job is, I can point to specifics. This training will lead to important results: A greener, more sustainable city and the jobs that go with it," said Councilmember Brown. "The District is looking ahead to the future, and we're fortunate to have partners who want to bring hope to our young people."

"Mayor Fenty and the City Council have been longtime advocates of initiatives that create jobs and promote a more sustainable city. Today, the private sector is proud to do its part," said Ted Trabue, director of the Green Builders Council of DC. "With this first-of-its-kind curriculum we're not just empowering District workers to take advantage of the green jobs of tomorrow, we're helping to grow this city's green economy and paving the way for other green collar workers across the country."

Specifically, the curriculum will train workers and students to be proficient in:

  • Recognizing the challenges that construction presents to the environment;
  • Understanding the life cycle phases of a building and their impacts on the environment;
  • Identifying eco-friendly alternatives to conventional building practices and understanding the costs and benefits of those alternatives, and;
  • Understanding the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating process and being able to apply construction practices that contribute to a building's LEED rating.

The new curriculum is the product of a partnership between the Green Builders Council of DC and the Florida-based National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The Green Builders Council of DC and NCCER commissioned the Sustainable Facilities and Infrastructure Research Team of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech University to develop the curriculum. An updated version will be prepared in the coming months to train workers in the U.S. Green Building Council's revised LEED standards for 2009.

The curriculum has been endorsed by the U.S. Green Building Council as well as Green Advantage, an organization providing environmental certification for construction trades workers who demonstrate knowledge of current green building principles, materials, and techniques.

The training curriculum will be taught by NCCER-accredited training sponsors, including the Academy of Construction & Design at Cardozo Senior High School in Northwest.

The local builders and developers who are members of the Green Builders Council of DC have been leaders in green building and green jobs in the DC area for years. Their member firms have constructed over 100 projects totaling more than 120 million square feet that are certified LEED buildings and currently employ over 450 workers who are accredited by LEED as experts in environmentally friendly construction. George Hawkins, director of the DC Department of Environment, recently praised the Green Builders' Council of DC for "leading the charge on the business side of greening this great District."

Sources: Green Builders Council of DC and PRNewswire-USNewswire.