Investing in Careers Through Rising Sun

Investing in Careers Through Rising Sun

Explore MCE’s green workforce training investments and impact by learning more about:
  • MCE’s partnership with the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
  • Development of the Energy Storage and Decarbonization Curriculum
  • Past program participants

MCE is committed to ensuring a just transition to a clean energy economy.

Since 2012, MCE has invested nearly $650,000 to train over 200 local workers in partnership with workforce development organizations like the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity.

Rising Sun is a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of economic equity and climate resilience. Its workforce development programs specialize in preparing youth, women, and other underrepresented individuals for reentry into long-term, well-paying green careers. Over the past few years, MCE and Rising Sun have partnered to support green education and training for seven student cohorts.

Energy Storage and Decarbonization Training

Starting in spring 2021, MCE partnered with Rising Sun to offer a new comprehensive pre-apprenticeship training curriculum focused on energy storage and decarbonization. The curriculum covered such subjects as math, finance, green construction, first aid, and professional development skills. In addition to hands-on training, participants heard directly from industry experts who shared insights about the benefits of solar and storage and answered questions about salaries, wages, job opportunities, and the day-to-day details of roles.

Past Program Participants

Through this recent partnership, MCE and Rising Sun were able to provide free green construction training to over 100 job seekers from five cohorts. Meet four of the inspiring Rising Sun alumni and learn about their experiences with the training program.

Jessica Lee

Oakland resident Jessica graduated from the program in 2021. The program material and resources helped her secure an electrical apprenticeship to launch her career as an electrician.

“I have always enjoyed working with my hands, but growing up as a woman, I felt isolated from the building trades. I am now working toward becoming a journey-level electrician and eventually will partner with a contractor to design and build new projects. It’s inspiring to be able to empower other women to join this industry. 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?”

Deyonna Hancock

As covered in the New York Times, Deyonna spent her 20s in and out of the state prison system. Deyonna mentioned the barriers that she faced while trying to enter the industry as a LBGTQ+ Black woman who was formerly incarcerated. She joined the Rising Sun training program to begin a path in construction. In December 2021, she completed her training with the Rising Sun program and was hired as the only female construction worker at Casa Sueños, the affordable housing project in East Oakland.

Most recently, she joined MCE’s solar field trip with the Solano County Youth Achievement Center and spoke to previously incarcerated and underserved youth about job pathways in green construction.

“I always wanted to work in construction, and I’ve learned firsthand that this industry does not discriminate based on your past. Being able to share my experience with these youth was a special opportunity.”

Bry’Ana Wallace

Bry’Ana participated in the summer 2021 Rising Sun cohort. During her time in the program, Rising Sun connected her with Moms4Housing, an organization that helps reclaim housing for homeless mothers. With support from Moms4Housing, Bry’Ana moved into a home of her own and transitioned her and her son out of homelessness.

“I learned so many skills through the program, from construction to math to professionalism. Many instructors have been in the trades themselves, have connections in the industry, and share their insights. The resources at Rising Sun helped me when I felt like I was losing my way.”

Damian Lee

Born and raised in East Oakland, Damian Lee recently graduated from the Rising Sun program and has started a new career with BKF Engineers. He uses skills from the Rising Sun training every day in his work as a land surveyor.

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