In July of 2009, along with many other community stakeholders, the LRWIB signed a letter of support for the Clinton Climate Initiative’s (CCI) Home Energy Affordability Loan program (HEAL AR) under ARRA Climate Showcase Community Grants and other state grant funds. Well received, The HEAL AR pilot program has been largely funded and, for starters, is bringing with it 31 “green collar” positions to the State of Arkansas.
How it works is simple: Four large scale area businesses, realizing energy savings by 0% interest State funded energy improvements, will utilize their post retrofit energy savings to create a 0% interest revolving loan fund for their employees to make weatherization and other energy-saving improvements to their private homes. For LRWIB’s part, we agreed to help recruit laborers and supervisors. The labor force will at first be made up of AmeriCorps Service volunteers who have an interest in working in the Green Energy Industry that is being developed in the country. But while the funding for the program overall has largely been met, the funding for the training of these service members has come up short, and therefore the LRWIB Executive Director proposes that $45,000 be directed to the CCI to help underwrite the enrollment of 6 WIA eligible youth into AmeriCorps for this very special green project. The Central Arkansas WIB has already committed $60,000.
Here are some of the advantages to the youth of making this investment with CCI and AmeriCorps:
- 14,700 is the cost of supporting one AmeriCorps volunteer for 1 year, so our share helps them to leveraging this cost with other grants. Volunteers earn a stipend of $950/month
- $4,750 is the Education Award they receive at the end of 1 year of service. They can apply for a 2nd year of service, but we are not committing to any funding beyond the first year. If they complete a 2nd year of service, their Education Award is $9,500
- Health, life and dismemberment insurance provided to all participants
- Participants are eligible for loan deferral and forgiveness programs both during and after their year of volunteer service
- Training for each of the 20 members valued at approx $7,500 to $11,000 per member on the open market.
- Youth participants will receive 12 months of OJT and hands on experience working alongside local skilled, professional contractors and supervisors
- Participants will have learned skills and, in some cases completed curriculum, that will be accepted by recognized apprenticeship programs
- Upon completion of their year of service, members will receive Nationwide hiring preference with all available government positions
Here are some of the advantages to the LRWIB of making this investment:
- Our $45,000 contribution will prepare and pay for ALL 20 service members to challenge National green collar credentialing programs (United States Green Building Council a.k.a. USGBC). Our $45,000 contribution will be leveraged nearly 4 times; to approximately $180,000
- The LRWIB will be associated and recognized with the Clinton Foundations Clinton Climate Initiative and the State of Arkansas in this cutting-edge, green technology project.
- Fiscal participation will allow us to meet some of the ARRA requirements to create green jobs and support energy reducing initiatives, and introduce us as a partner in other similar opportunities
- Since this program is unique and only available through the CCI, we can contract this service as a Sole Source contract