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Communities of Practice

Through the Communities of Practice, Green For All connects people who are working throughout the country on programs and policies to address climate change and create pathways out of poverty through green-collar jobs. These on-the-ground practitioners get to connect to each other, innovate together, and share their learning with the entire field.

So far, we have launched two Communities of Practice:

  1. The "Green Pathways Out of Poverty" Community focuses on green job training programs.

  2. The "Retrofit America's Cities" Community focuses on programs designed to perform energy-efficiency retrofits at a city-wide scale.

Each Community of Practice has hundreds of members, with a couple of dozen people serving as its "Working Group" — a committed core of leaders.

What We Do

The Communities of Practice facilitate intensive in-person meetings and conferences, learning conference calls with hundreds of participants, and an electronic newsletter and online discussion forum for members. Building these networks among members allows them to do three things: Link, Lift and Leverage.

LINK: Members connect with one another, sharing stories, insights and analysis to help them each become more effective. They also get to hear from panels of experts from outside the Community of Practice. And they get to engage in high-level, guided discussions of important issues in the field. All this helps members look for and create opportunities to collaborate with each other.

EXAMPLE: Laborers Union International Union, Local 10 in New York has partnered with the Consortium of Worker Education to provide the outreach, life-skills and wrap-around services for the Laborers residential weatherization program. This partnership grew directly out of the Green Pathways Out of Poverty Community.

LIFT: Collective sharing allows members to identify the best ideas, programs and practices in the country. It also gives members a forum to discuss these examples — and less successful ones — and develop new knowledge that would be impossible for any one group to develop outside of the Community of Practice. Showcasing and highlighting these important lessons is a key purpose of the Communities of Practice.

EXAMPLES: Our first two Communities of Practice have produced three different tools to help practitioners on the ground. A Short Guide to Setting Up a City-Scale Retrofit Program is an easy-to-use tool for anyone interested in such programs, whether in city government, private industry, workforce development, or a community-based organization. Green Pathways Out of Poverty: Workforce Development Initiatives is a guide to help "green pathways out of poverty" programs think through the central questions on which success hinges. And Federal Resources to Enhance and Sustain Green Pathways out of Poverty Programs is a short primer on some of the key ways these programs can leverage federal investments to improve and sustain themselves — especially in the wake of the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

LEVERAGE: Members find ways to draw on one another's strengths to make the entire field stronger. By leveraging the resources of the many members, the Communities of Practice can have outsized, large-scale impacts on both public policy and practice in the private sector.

Example: Members of the Green Pathways Out of Poverty Community of Practice came together to push the House of Representatives to pass a climate and energy bill that invested in green job training and access through the Green Jobs Act. Those efforts were a key reason that the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which the House passed on June 26, 2009, included $500 million in funding for the Green Jobs Act.

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The Community of Practice web pages were made possible by the generous support of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation (