Communities of color experience outsized impacts from environmental pollution and the daily realities of climate change. These frontline communities — especially Portland’s Black and Native communities — also experience high rates of unemployment and inequitable access to living-wage jobs in the green sector. Yet, these are the voices we need at the center of environmental justice and climate work.
We don’t need to look further than our own backyard — Portland, Oregon — for evidence of these inequities reported through research and lived experience. And ongoing gentrification in metropolitan areas like ours is exacerbating the issue. At the same time, growth is creating significant demand for new infrastructure that minimizes environmental impacts and ensures climate resilience.
Green Workforce Academy
Ecotrust has joined with a powerful collective of partners — The Blueprint Foundation, Native American Youth and Family Center, Self Enhancement, Inc., and Wisdom of the Elders — to design and launch a five-week paid workforce readiness and environmental literacy program. The Green Workforce Academy is for 18 to 25-year-old Portland area adults to gain access to jobs, apprenticeships, and educational opportunities in the growing Portland green jobs market.
Is the Green Workforce Academy for you? Watch our virtual info session to find out.
About the Academy
We meet Monday–Thursday, 9am–3pm with 2 classroom days and 2 field days each week (transportation and lunch provided). In response to Oregon Health Authority and CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, we will limit class size, maximize our time outdoors, provide masks and other relevant PPE to students and teachers, and have in place a full COVID-19 protocol in case of exposure or illness.
The Green Workforce Academy curriculum is culturally responsive to Black and Native American communities, who experience the highest unemployment rates and lowest labor force participation of all racial or ethnic groups in the area, and all are welcome to apply. Participants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED/TASC. The curriculum is based on the nationally recognized Roots of Success workforce readiness program.
“There are so many different jobs, so many different pathways, out in the field or behind the scenes doing the research. I feel it’s really important that we’re a part of that. I’m really grateful for the Green Workforce Academy. I’m happy to get certified and ready to see what’s next.”
— Selena Gutierrez, 2018 Academy graduate
Ecotrust deploys our resources to build a regenerative economy, one that repairs the health of our planet and our communities. Advancing economic justice — and working to dismantle the institutional racism that drives injustice — is central to this work, not only as a critical community response, but as a critical climate response.
Being a Collaborative member is an opportunity to join, support, and learn from our partners as they confront systemic inequities, including barriers to obtaining financial philanthropic support through donations and grants. It is also our chance to learn from and work more closely with communities of color experiencing economic and environmental injustice.
For more information on upcoming Academy sessions, being a part of the Collaborative, or to share Green Workforce employment opportunities, contact Teresa Gaddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foundational research & resources
2017, Ecotrust and Policy Link
An examination of the economic, ecological, and social impacts of existing community based urban forestry investments designed to benefit low-income communities and communities of color.
June 7, 2017, Washington Post
Examining the little-known history of Oregon’s racial exclusion laws, including the 1844 “Peter Burnett Lash Law.”
2010, Coalition of Communities of Color
A report that aims to make the experiences of communities of color widely available to policy makers, advocates, researchers, and educators.
Green Workforce Collaborative Members