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Green Economy of the Future Emerges from a Factory of the Past

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A factory in West Kensington that once produced Union army uniforms has been transformed into a state-of-the-art green jobs training center by the Energy Coordinating Agency.

The Collaborative staff recently had a personal tour of The John S. and James L. Knight Green Jobs Training Center with Walter Yakabosky, director of the training center, and Frances Cichetti of ECA.  We got to see the innovative training facilities and green features of the building first-hand and explore some of our favorite topics—how to reuse industrial buildings and practice sustainability in urban neighborhoods.

ECA worked with Re: Vision Architects to turn the 19th century building into a training center with classrooms, work and demonstration spaces, and offices.  The building is being considered for LEED Gold certification and has green features like a white roof, gray water recycling and excellent insulation.

The center is helping train a skilled green collar work force that will be part of the emerging clean energy economy and help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions through home weatherization.  The training program creates a pathway for participants to secure well-paying jobs while meeting the demand for trained workers in energy conservation and weatherization being driven by Federal funding for energy retrofits through low-interest loans.

With new federal programs on the horizon that will provide financial incentives to homeowners who make energy-saving home improvements, ECA’s corps of trained weatherization specialists—crew chiefs, installers, auditors, and building analysts— will be in great demand. ECA trained workers will be conducting much of the retrofit work in the region and the ECA will play a major role in the education and outreach programs.


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