Green Works turns Bagley building into bustling job training facility

Detroit Green Works Solutions has transformed a 6,400-square-foot building located at 2715 Bagley into a job training center. Formerly the headquarters of Disenos Iron Works (which relocated elsewhere in Southwest Detroit) and the Bagley Housing Association (now part of Southwest Housing Solutions), it now houses a classroom, computer lab, displays, a hands-on workspace and offices for the program's six staffers.

The building's location in Hubbard-Richard makes it convenient for students, who are all residents of Southwest Detroit. "It's centrally located for bus routes, so it's pretty easy to get here," says Chris Rutherford, training programs manager for WARM Training Center, a partner in the Green Works consortium. Other pluses: walking distance to restaurants and concerned neighbors that keep an eye on the place.

The courses offered include Weatherization (10 weeks) and a combination of Weatherization and Deconstruction (12 weeks). Insulation, caulking, window glazing, appliance electrical loads and weather stripping are taught -- along with construction basics such as tool usage, safety and CPR and first aid. Two "cohorts" of 20 students each take the program concurrently. About a third of their time is spent in the classroom, a third with on-site hands-on training and a third in the field.

Other program partners include Henry Ford Community College, who teaches math and computer skills, and Southwest Solutions, who works with students on their resumes and job readiness skills.

Stats: The sixth cohort just started their training, 58 students have graduated since Green Works got started in May and there is a 70% job placement rate.

Restrictions: Students must pass a drug test, be at least 18 years old and live in one of five Detroit zip codes: 48208, 48209, 48210, 48216 or 48217. One of the following criteria must be met as well: unemployed, high school drop out, returning citizen, veteran or low-income.

For more information, contact Southwest Solutions' Center for Working Families at 313-841-9641 x363. The next session begins January 10, 2011.

Other program partners include Detroit Workforce Development Dept. and the Greening of Detroit. Greening facilitates the training of Green Works' other certification program, which covers landscaping and forestry.

Source: Dan Pratt and Chris Rutherford, WARM Training
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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