People United for Sustainable Housing’s new 2,500-square-foot Sustainability Workforce Training Center on the is underway near the corner of Arkansas and Hampshire streets. Stemming from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, creation of the region’s first green jobs training facility will further PUSH Buffalo’s mission to help meet climate and energy standards while also increasing access to clean energy-related job training and opportunities for members of minority and underserved communities. PUSH expects that once the SWTC opens, the number of its green workforce training program graduates will at least double, from a current annual total of 48 people to at least 96.
“As Western New York welcomes sustainable, 21st century businesses to the region, PUSH Buffalo’s new training center will help to ensure that workers in the area are ready to meet their needs and fill the green jobs of tomorrow,” Governor Hochul said. “Building a modern economy means building a modern workforce, and my administration is committed to investing in institutions like PUSH Buffalo that share our mission of strengthening our talent pipeline, unlocking opportunities for countless New Yorkers, and creating a brighter economic future for our state.”
Built on two vacant lots at 169 Arkansas Street and 298 Hampshire Street, the $2.5 million project will provide a mix of flexible classroom, office and meeting spaces. The building is designed to generate as much energy as it uses through an on-site PV solar system and a geothermal heating/cooling system, which will also serve as a learning laboratory for renewable energy training sessions. The SWTC will be the new home of the Community Hiring Hall, originally established in 2014 in PUSH Buffalo’s current location.
PUSH Buffalo’s Community Hiring Hall trains and places workers in the renewable energy sector, as well as serves as the employer-of-record and assumes responsibility for workforce recruitment, screening, hiring, management, and administration. The Community Hiring Hall plays a critical role in training Buffalo’s low-income residents that are under and unemployed, with an emphasis on marginalized communities of color. Trainees are matched with contractors to help in building relationships that will support long-term workforce development. To date, more than 224 of the Hiring Hall’s former trainees have been employed by companies across Western New York.
Empire State Development has committed more than $1.64 million to the project, including $1.2 million through a Western New York Workforce Development Challenge grant through Buffalo Billion II and $445,000 through a Regional Council Capital Fund grant. PUSH Buffalo also received a $137,817 grant from NYSERDA for the project.