Green Workforce Spotlight: Jessica Lee

Green Workforce Spotlight: Jessica Lee

MCE supports local organizations working to develop long-term, well-paying employment opportunities in the clean energy industry. One of MCE’s workforce development partners, Rising Sun Center for Opportunity, is a local nonprofit that advocates for economic equity and climate resiliency by offering training for green jobs. Rising Sun collaborates with MCE to provide job seekers with clean energy work experience.

Jessica Lee recently graduated from the Rising Sun training program and secured a job in the electrical industry. We spoke with Jessica about her experience in the program and her new role in the clean energy transition.

What led you to the Rising Sun program?

I have always enjoyed working with my hands, but growing up as a woman, I felt isolated from the building trades. During COVID-19, I realized that I didn’t see a future working behind a desk and decided to pursue my passion for working in a hands-on environment. When I researched how to gain experience in the building trades through pre-apprenticeship programs, I came across Rising Sun. During an informational session, I learned about Juanita, a program instructor who had worked in the industry for decades and was well respected in the field. It sounded like an amazing opportunity to be part of the program with her as my mentor.

How did these skills help you start your career?

I have been working as an electrical apprentice since graduating from the training program. In addition to the physical part of the job, a rewarding and huge part of electrical work is understanding the physics and theory behind electricity and solving problems. I am now working toward becoming a journey-level electrician and eventually will partner with a contractor to design and build new projects. People are often shocked to hear that I’m an aspiring electrician because men tend to dominate this field. It’s inspiring to be able to empower other women to join this industry.

What advice would you offer someone who’s considering working in the green building sector?

You need a strong work ethic, a curious mindset, and the ability to face challenges head on. There are lots of opportunities in the green building sector. Why not take the opportunity to learn and grow with this industry as it develops? It’s good to keep dreaming about what you’ll do next, take risks, and try new things. In the building trades, every experience leads to knowledge or a skill that you can carry with you forever.

Congratulations on this new phase of your journey, Jessica! For other job seekers interested in training and education opportunities in this industry, visit the Opportunity Build page.

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