As our Community Renewable Energy team continues working with our partners at the Columbus Partnership on launching the Impact Solar Initiative, we are keenly aware of the green energy opportunities an investment of this magnitude can make in our community. You can read more about the workforce need on our blog at Wanted Everywhere: Electricians and Solar Installers. We have put this need to our partners across the state of Ohio, and so many wonderful actors are stepping up to the challenge, not the least of which are our friends at Accompanying Returning Citizens with Hope (ARCH).
ARCH exists to meet returning citizens where they’re at and assist them in reintegrating into the community and is making the world a more welcoming place for returning citizens one business, organization, and faith community at a time. To meet our call for a trained solar workforce, ARCH aims to provide justice-involved women re-entering the community after serving prison sentences the opportunity to secure employment through our Impact Solar initiative.
They are currently seeking funding to develop and set up a pilot solar training program at Ohio Reformatory for Women and support running their first cohort of women. Funds will also be used for ARCH staffing to provide reentry planning, workforce skills, and wrap-around assistance in reentry.
In a “pre-release” phase, program participants will prepare for this distinct job market through construction and solar power training, job readiness coaching, environmental literacy education, reentry planning, and certifications. ARCH will then guide program participants through a “post-release” phase that involves workforce readiness, housing support, employment mentorship, and ultimately, job placement.
ARCH is taking second-chance employment to a new level by facilitating connections between the green energy job market— with its labor shortage —and reentering women who already have skills but lack the technical expertise and support networks to advance in the industry. Not only will ARCH provide wraparound support and workforce development, but the organization will pave the way for program participants to pursue local environmental pre-apprentice options as a critical step toward upward mobility and sustainable employment.
ARCH has been selected as a finalist in the Columbus Philanthropitch event to win funds to help sponsor this pilot of this important program and we will be cheering them on come April. If you know funding that would be supportive of ARCH and these efforts, we encourage you to reach out and we would be happy to connect.