Jessica Goodheart is RePower L.A. Project Director at the LA Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. She has also served as the organization’s Research Director, authoring numerous studies, including evaluations of L.A.’s Living Wage Ordinance.

Union and Government Partner for Good of City

Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was asked by the city to take charge of an $8.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program to weatherize the homes of low-income customers. The nonprofits that typically do the work didn’t feel they had the capabilities.

Brian D’Arcy, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 — the union that represents most LADWP workers — saw an opportunity to work with the Department to kick-start an 18-month training program that would address the problem of an aging LADWP workforce. The “Utility Pre-Craft Trainee Program” would link L.A.’s struggling communities with careers in the utility at a time when 40 percent of Local 18’s 8,000 members were at or near retirement age. These trainees would be an ideal workforce for the weatherization program.