Expanding access to clean energy careers

Climate change affects everyone, but not equally. Our fossil-based energy system has disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities for generations. So as the world transitions to a carbon-free electric grid, it’s important to support programs building a just and equitable clean energy economy.

This transition to clean energy is expected to create 10.3 million jobs by 2030, outpacing the nearly 2.7 million fossil fuel jobs of today. Google.org and Google Nest recently partnered with Dream Corps Green For All to launch The Green For All Clean Energy Scholarship Fund, which aims to expand access to clean energy careers for jobseekers from underrepresented communities.

We recently announced our first recipients at Black Future Weekend, a Dream Corps event focused on diversifying the tech industry. As part of the application process, they shared their “green dream” and explained why they wanted a career in the renewable energy industry:

Quianya Enge (Carbondale, Illinois)

As someone directly impacted by the criminal justice system and now a doctoral student in Higher Education and Administration with a master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development, my dream is to build a career in the clean energy sector. Renewable energy jobs are perfect for those who need a second chance in the workforce. However, there is a negative perception of felons within the solar industry and society as a whole — and as a workforce developer, I’d like to change that. I want to build a team that helps individuals from marginalized communities find training and jobs in the solar field, and form partnerships with groups in the clean energy industry that work to reduce recidivism.

Alcia Shaw (Brooklyn, New York)

I grew up on a farm in Jamaica, deep within the island’s green-swathed mountains. Despite the hardships I faced growing up in a poverty-stricken country, as a young girl, I found tranquility in climbing the nearest tree and watching as the deep blue Caribbean Sea embraced the north coast. It will be a dream come true for me when our communities are no longer at risk of excess pollution, waste and questionable water sources. This scholarship will allow me to enroll in a sustainability management course at Yale University, giving me the qualifications I need to pursue my passion for equality and maintain the environmental integrity of my community and similar areas across the globe.

Kristian Thymianos (Las Vegas, Nevada)

To me, the clean energy sector is a way to keep my community alive despite the ongoing issues surrounding climate change. I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada — where the only thing as intense as the city is the sun beating down on it. We contend with major issues due to climate change, like urban heat islands that threaten the health of our residents and tourists and negatively impact our infrastructure, and declining water resources. These are not unique to Las Vegas, but they impact our community more than others. ​​Finding ways to fix and provide for my hometown pushes me to do the work I do.

Extending the impact with Nest Renew

Last year, Google Nest unveiled Nest Renew, a service for compatible Nest thermostats in the U.S. that makes it easy to support clean energy right from home. Through the Energy Impact Program, a feature within Nest Renew, you can help direct funds to nonprofit partners working towards an equitable sustainable future.

Later this year, Dream Corps will join GRID Alternatives and Elevate Energy as a founding partner of the Energy Impact Program, ensuring continued support for scholarship recipients and guaranteed career placement for individuals from underrepresented communities.