Sustainable DC 2.0 includes goals related to growing the green economy. Actions to reach these goals include expanding job opportunities in the climate, resilience, environment, and food industries. Below are several programs and resources available in the District to build jobs in the green economy.
Department of Energy and Environment Programs
- Solar Works DC is the District’s premiere single-family, low-income solar photovoltaic installation and job training program. Located within the DC Infrastructure Academy in Ward 8, the program prepares District residents to enter careers in solar while reducing energy costs for income-qualified District homeowners by installing solar systems on their homes.
- The Green Zone Environmental Program partners with the Department of Employment Services Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program to introduce participants to energy, environmental, and sustainability challenges and opportunities that impact the District of Columbia.
- Graduate-level students can apply for highly competitive, paid fellowships through the Green Fellows program, to work for a year during their graduate studies in different departments within the agency.
- The River Corps Program engages District residents, ages 18–24, through classroom education and field-based experiences to gain technical skills needed to install, inspect, and maintain green infrastructure, and learn critical skills to secure employment.
- Learn about additional pathways to green jobs offered through Department of Energy and Environment programs.
Food Industry Programs
The following programs are offered by nonprofits or for-profit businesses. Sustainable DC does not endorse participation in these programs, but does offer these as potential entry points for the industry.
- Nourish DC’s technical assistance services help entrepreneurs take their new and existing food businesses to the next level.
- DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program helps launch culinary careers.
- The Carlos Rosario School offers tuition-free culinary arts career training to District residents, with classes geared toward English language learners, through the Culinary Arts Training Program.
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Resources
The following is not a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the District. However, it is a place to start if you’re looking to launch or grow your own business to employ yourself and/or others.
- The Department of Small and Local Business Development manages the Aspire to Entrepreneurship program for returning citizens, offers no-barrier loans to businesses and entrepreneurs, and conducts one-on-one counseling.
- Business resources provided by the Department of Energy and Environment include information on energy efficiency incentives, waste management guidance, and how to earn recognition as a sustainability leader.
- 202 Creates provides one-on-one office hours and a residency program for aspiring members of the District’s creative economy.
- The Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection hosts a Small Business Resource Center aimed at making starting a business in the District easier.
- The DC Women’s Business Center provides business development services to women entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC Metro region.
- The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development hosts a list of local incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces.
Other Training and Certification Programs
- DC Water and Water Environment Federation launched the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program to train, qualify and certify eligible participants for the green infrastructure construction, inspection and maintenance workforce.
- The University of the District of Columbia offers Master Gardener and Master Naturalist certifications
- The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) connects District residents with paid green externships in energy efficiency and sustainability. More than 85% of externs go on to full-time positions after completing the program. DCSEU also hosts the Train Green Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Capacity Building and Pipeline Program for eligible firms to gain new or enhanced skills in energy efficiency and renewable energy design, construction, inspection, and maintenance.