Denver green jobs meeting with Green For All aids local efforts

Authors: jj When the Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) heard the rumblings of the green jobs movement beginning in the Denver area, they called on Green For All to facilitate a roundtable discussion on opportunities in Colorado. The meeting was hosted by the Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition (GJIC), a Denver "eco-justice" group that was inspired by Green For All. "The CEC wanted to discuss some next steps, to keep up with the good work Green For All is doing," said Reverend Ambrose Carroll, the GJIC's facilitator and a Green For All Academy Fellow. "It was a CEC powwow with Green For All," he said. "It was educational and it was inspiring." The Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition rallies and educates communities about environmental justice through churches, and has developed an innovative strategy to "green" the Denver area and create local green jobs. The plan is to put solar panels on 200 Denver area churches within 8 months, starting in July. 40 churches have already signed up for the program. GJIC is working to find individuals, companies and small banks to purchase the solar panels. This is a win-win situation: there is no cost to the churches, and the solar panel purchasers will be paid back through the churches' energy bill savings. Labor needed for panel installation will create green jobs to be filled by local workers. The Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition got a major boost from the CEC out of the roundtable. As a result of that meeting, Green For All Academy fellows Rev. Carroll, Ashara Ekundayo and Isaac Medrano spearheaded a new partnership between the Colorado Environmental Coalition, Blue and Yellow Logic, and Democracia USA, to help the Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition with their church solar panel project. The importance of building working alliances between organizations is highlighted by the GJIC's strategy. Rev. Carroll said the GJIC would need to function as a general contractor, contracting out solar panels from SunPower Corporation and labor from local organizations. Mile High Youth Corps, an organization that places youth into green jobs, has agreed to work on churches in partnership with the Faith Building Alliance. Faith Building Alliance is a GJIC program in conjunction with Turnabout, an organization that puts formerly incarcerated men back into the workforce. Rev. Carroll described the Green For All meeting as a step towards achieving a unique goal for Denver: to become "a repository of everything green" in Colorado, and a model city for the rest of the country. "Socially, we'll all be strengthened by the work that we do," he said. "The roundtable meeting helped us to understand how we can support each other." J.J. Barrow is an Online Communications Intern at Green For All.

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