Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green Career Training for Women

My name is Pamela Pigford, I am a 56-year-old African-American lesbian and my dream is to become an Electrician.

After working as a telecommunications technician for 20 years in LA, I moved back to my hometown of Denver knowing that these skills would soon be obsolete. With the goal of getting into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 68, Denver Joint Electrical Apprentice and Training Committee Program, I applied, tested and interviewed with Local 68 to become an electrician in June 2010. I scored very successfully and have been on a waiting list for the Apprentice Training Program since.

While waiting for acceptance into the apprenticeship, I discovered that there is free career training available in green jobs through a grant with FRESC Good Jobs Strong Communities. Last summer, I successfully completed two courses, became a Certified Energy Auditor, and obtained my BPI certification.

Since I chose to quit my job in California to pursue career training, I have not been eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Colorado, and have been living off credit cards and family support. Had I been able to receive any UI benefits, I would not be as deep in debt as I am now.

Being underemployed has dramatically impacted my lifestyle and my ability to reach economic security in any real way. Last year I explored Denver, trying to learn my way around the city and took advantage of Free Day events. Now I only leave to house to job search, interview, drug test and work at temporary jobs. I continue to use free job search resources like the Workforce Center and the Public Library, and I am anxious to find something steady to support myself. My only hope is that once given the opportunity, I will prove my determination to become a valuable employee to a truly inclusive and equal opportunity organization, and succeed in my goal of becoming an Electrician or Technician in a Green Career.

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