Criminal Background Checks Would Have Shut Workers out of Green Jobs
Oakland, CA – The Building Performance Institute has announced that it will drop requirements blocking people with criminal histories from finding work in the promising field of energy efficiency. BPI had proposed mandatory criminal background checks for workers applying for its Home Energy Professional credentials. After learning of the proposal, Green for All and partners urged BPI to drop the requirement.
“Criminal background checks would have slammed the door on people who may have made bad decisions years ago, but now want to make an honest living in the green economy,” said Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. “We know that hiring ex-offenders prevents recidivism. The energy efficiency field is one of the most promising in terms of job opportunities. Protecting access to these jobs for ex-offenders will help keep crime rates low and make communities stronger.”
Green for All has worked to open up opportunities in green jobs for Americans who are re-entering the workforce after being incarcerated. By dropping the criminal background check prerequisites, BPI has set a precedent. They’ve removed a barrier that would have prevented the nation’s most vulnerable workers from getting good green jobs.
“We commend BPI for doing the right thing,” Ellis-Lamkins said. “As a result of this decision, America’s most vulnerable workers will have better access to green jobs, and our communities will be safer.”
Suffolk County Department of Labor Commissioner Sammy Chu praised BPI for its decision. "BPI has shown great leadership in recognizing that inclusivity provides strength to the home performance industry and our communities,” Chu said. “This training pilot now reflects the need to focus on creating opportunities for all workers, but will also provide tremendous value to homeowners in the form of consistent quality projects being installed by exceptionally trained workers."
For more information about Green for All’s work to help ex-offenders enter the green workforce, read our report, Best Practices in Green Re-Entry Strategies.
About Green For All
Green For All is a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. The organization works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of its agenda. For more information, please visit www.gfa.fchq.ca.