$2.5 Million Grant for Water Efficiency And Green Jobs

The Los Angeles Water Efficiency Workforce Development Program has won Governor Schwarzenegger’s Green Innovation Challenge and will receive $2.5 million in funding over the next two years.
The Green Innovation Challenge is a highly competitive grant process that drew 34 applications from around the state of California.  Six projects were awarded funding including two in Southern California.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “These Challenge grants will encourage innovative green companies to train and hire Californians to further our state’s leadership in the green economy.”Victoria Bradshaw, Secretary of the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, who presented the awards, said “This is an important opportunity to help put people back to work while giving industries in the green economy the ability to develop training programs that will address their specific workforce needs.”

The Los Angeles Water Efficiency Workforce Development program is a broad workforce collaborative led by Generation Power.  Many of these projects will be in the public sector including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), City of Los Angeles, and other public sector agencies, which have enormous irrigated acreage under management.

The two-year project will survey hundreds of sites across school campuses,
city parks facilities, and other public and private facilities to develop a
rich database of projects suitable for funding with projected returns on
investment.  Dallana Acosta, a recent Fremont High School graduate, CSUN
student, and Generation Power team lead, said, “The Green Innovation
Challenge funding will help Generation Power expand our work in water
conservation and energy efficiency and allow us to hire more bright young
students.

Young people, ages 16-24, working for Generation Power found that over 62% of the toilets at LAUSD consume 3.5 gallons (or more) per flush (gpf) compared to LAUSD’s current specification for new toilets of 1.28 gpf.  We estimated that the savings in water bills from toilet and urinal retrofits will re-coup the initial materials and labor investment in only four years.  There is a lot of opportunity for both water conservation and job creation.”

In addition to project surveys and identification of fundable projects, crews from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and incumbent workers of the City of Los Angeles will replace water-hungry invasive species with drought-tolerant landscaping.  Other technologies and practices including smart irrigation, rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, and stormwater management will also be implemented.  Crews will receive training in low impact development from Los Angeles Valley College, the Worker Education & Resource Center, the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and other groups.  Bo Savage of the Conservation Corps said, “Corpsmembers take pride in environmental stewardship.  They are thrilled that they will be able to learn job skills that will make them more marketable for employment in the growing field of water conservation.”

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