This last Wednesday, August 19th, I joined the family members and friends of the Supportive Housing Employment Collaborative’s (SHEC) Recycling Interns to recognize their success in completing their program. If you haven’t heard of the SHEC or their training programs… stop reading and look them up right now. They are at truly at the forefront of the green jobs movement! Over the course of a three-month paid internship, formerly homeless individuals work with staff and mentors to learn about the 4 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot) and work in their individual buildings and in city-wide events to expand recycling and increase waste diversion throughout San Francisco.
The recycling program is just one of the SHEC’s employment readiness and job training programs. They also provide previously homeless individuals with multiple barriers to entry into the labor market with a set of wrap around services, which include counseling, retention and placement services, and adult education and GED preparation. Their success rate is outstanding. In 2008, they served 261 people:
- Over 75 percent of those who enrolled in a job training or education program graduated.
- 71 percent of graduates were placed into permanent employment.
- 65 percent maintained employment for three or more months.
- 90 formerly homeless individuals were placed into permanent employment in the last year.
As we continue to see the growth of the green jobs movement, it is important that we include those in our community that are so often forgotten and remember what Van Jones has so often noted: “As the new ‘clean and green’ economy emerges, there will be countless opportunities for people to improve their work, wealth, and health. Those opportunities must be made available to everyone–especially those people who have found opportunities so hard to come by in the pollution-based economy… If not, it will be tainted by the same racial and class stratification that has for so long prevented America from fulfilling its promise of freedom.” The SHEC is the first step towards green jobs for everyone.