Laura Senkevitch, Manager of Training and Transitional Programs at The Fortune Society

Fortune’s Green Program Grads: Successfully Building And Rebuilding Our Communities

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Fortune’s Society’s footprint extends far beyond our mission of “strengthening the fabric of our communities.” Did you know that many of Fortune’s Green Program graduates are also making our communities better places to live and raise healthy families?

Within our Employment Services department, we offer intensive training in environmental remediation and sustainable building operation and maintenance, and have done so since the launch of our programs in 2011. Since their launch, we have seen over 300 individuals successfully complete these programs and obtain meaningful careers, both building and rebuilding our communities.

In our six-week intensive program in Environmental Remediation, participants learn how to be environmental technicians and community stewards. They delve deep into both technical information and local policy initiatives to fully comprehend the unique facets of brownfield redevelopment in New York, covering topics such as environmental health and safety, urban agriculture, climate change mitigation, and resiliency strategies. Through our partners at ANDO International — one of New York City’s oldest environmental training facilities — participants also gain numerous, important certifications to successfully conduct some of the hardest, most important cleanup work, work that is needed to turn our land — historically impacted by contaminates from previous industrial use — into safe places for things like affordable housing, schools, and parks, to name a few. Many of the graduates of this program have helped shape places like the Williamsburg Waterfront, the High Line, and Hudson Yards, as laborers, environmental technicians, and even project managers.

Our Green Building Operation and Maintenance program, similarly a six-week intensive training, focuses on making our existing buildings and facilities more efficient. This course includes hands-on skill development in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing installation with a focus on new NYC Department of Building requirements for sustainable building, retrofitting, and affordable housing. Done in partnership with Solar One, graduates walk away with the ability to look at buildings as a science, able to diagnose inefficiencies, and both recommend and install solutions to energy and water efficiency conundrums that ultimately improve the quality of life for those within the facilities themselves, as well as that of building owners who are able to ultimately save on utility costs over time. Graduates have gone on to superintendent and solar installation technician positions throughout the five boroughs, some of whom have also become trainers themselves with this knowledge.

These opportunities have been made possible for our clients through the generosity of donors — like many of you — as well as recognition, assistance, and/or funding from multiple levels of governmental stakeholders, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation.

Curious to learn more about these programs and assist us in making a positive, environmental impact in the five boroughs? Reach out … whether you have been personally impacted by the criminal justice system and are unemployed and in need of new skills, or are interested in investing or assisting in our services through a new partnership. We want to hear from you!

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