Trainings graduates enter Oregon’s green building workforce

Trainings graduates enter Oregon’s green building workforce

New home builders

For Oregon job seekers, careers in energy efficient residential construction are increasingly in demand. As communities work toward clean energy goals and Inflation Reduction Act funding for climate resilient construction begins to roll out, the green building boom is here.  

Since 2018, the nonprofit Earth Advantage and its community-based partners have worked together to deliver customized training opportunities, from youth trainings and pre-apprenticeships to higher education and professional development, to more than 850 participants. These initiatives, supported by the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund and Energy Trust, aim to foster interest in the green residential sector and welcome a diverse array of talent into the industry. 

Last fall, Earth Advantage and EnerCity Collaborative launched Oregon Residential Construction Career Hub, an online job board and educational resources that connects workers with career paths and employers statewide.  

The site also highlights stories of workers who completed their training and gone on to carve out careers in residential construction. Their journeys serve as an inspiration to others to explore opportunities within this dynamic field. 

*Members of Energy Trust’s Trade Ally Network 

Jennifer Sanchez: HVAC Apprentice, Wolfer’s Home Services* 

After honing her skills alongside family members, Sanchez sought formal certification through Portland YouthBuilders. Inspired by her uncle’s mentorship and the support of industry professionals like James Metoyer at EnerCity Collaborative, Sanchez embarked on a rewarding career in HVAC.  

Her dedication to creating healthy living environments continues to drive her passion for the trade.  

“I consistently reference key concepts of healthy homes and air flow in my work. It makes a difference to have support from my family and support from someone like James and Earth Advantage to offer resources for the HVAC industry,” said Sanchez. 

Jim Thompson: Home Energy Score Assessor, Northwest Energy Collaborative* 

Thompson’s transition from a pre-apprenticeship program to a home energy score assessor underscores the industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.  

“The creation of job opportunities for marginalized peoples in the industry will play a vital role in an effort to pull individuals and families out of poverty and give everyone a fighting chance to build a sustainable future,” said Thompson. 

Abdona Sanchez: HVAC Tradeswoman, PeopleReady Skilled Trades 

Sanchez’s decision to pursue a career in HVAC, supported by Portland YouthBuilders, highlights the transformative impact of training initiatives. Armed with newfound skills and determination, she now thrives as an HVAC tradeswoman, contributing to the industry’s growth and vitality. 

Maximus Rivera-Solorio: Technical Field Consultant, Earth Advantage* 

Rivera-Solorio’s journey from student to technical field consultant at Earth Advantage exemplifies the power of mentorship and hands-on training. His role in supporting builders pursuing green building certification underscores the importance of continuous learning and professional development.  

“I’ve learned a lot of building science,” said Rivera-Solorio. “But the most educational part of my role has been improving my communication and business skills.” 

Through investments and partnerships with trade organizations and community partners as well as Energy Trust’s Trade Ally Network and Contractor Development Pathway, Energy Trust provide resources, trainings and support for contractors and delivery partners.