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WBNS-CBS: City leaders announce new program to boost hiring in the clean-energy sector

by Emily Oliver

COLUMBUS, Ohio — City leaders announced a new jobs program on Thursday aimed at connecting Columbus residents with training and experience in the clean-energy sector. 

The Empowered! program will recruit residents ages 18-24 from communities of color and women in areas throughout the city deemed “opportunity zones.” The program aims to provide participants with the skills necessary to help them pursue careers in the clean-energy sector.

“Addressing climate change is about more than reducing carbon emissions,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “It is also about expanding opportunity, promoting upward mobility and elevating quality of life.” 

In order to promote Empowered!, the city will allocate $1.5 million in funding that will allow non-profit IMPACT Community Action to implement the program. 

Of that funding, $300,000 comes from the city’s Clean Energy Columbus program and its Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund. 

Program participants will receive on-the-job experience as Energy Advocates, perform low-level energy audits and upgrades such as LED-bulb replacement. According to a release, participants will receive $17 per hour, as well as compensation for their training. 

“Getting young people interested in the energy industry now is vital for our future. These are important jobs that take hard work and time learning from experienced mentor to master,” said Marketta Franklin, director of learning and development for AEP. “Through this effort, we are helping secure workers for the future and ensuring that our workforce is built with members of the communities we serve.”

You can learn more about the city’s Climate Action Plan and Sustainable Columbus here

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