Green Works Development (GWD) is an informal alliance of sustainability oriented community businesses, nonprofits, school and college green job training and education programs, and government agencies. They work to create ongoing opportunities such as watershed restoration, greenways, housing, public works sustainability projects and community interaction.
GWD began as a youth training project involving the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency, the ENVMT program at Merritt College, The Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies, Oakland Schools, and 26 other partners. During the project, youths learned how to design and install neighborhood requested improvements along the San Leandro Creek. GWD is continuing along that watershed as well as other sites in the East Bay.
GWD was inspired by “Connect the Dots” meetings sponsored by Merritt College using Institute research. These gatherings initially identify areas for opportunities, and then include all the diverse stakeholders together in a conversation from which goals emerge. GWD is a successful case study that linked multiple benefits at the least cost beginning with community requests, then provided education, planning and design, and paid training for youth and college students while installing “green” improvements. Planners, crews, and crew leaders learn within the neighborhood context, and are able to recruit from each other’s groups. GWD is addressing opportunities for streamlining agency interactions such as timely payment for smaller community-scale enterprises.
Greenway serve as examples of linked projects
- 80% of new jobs are in small business and small organizations.
- Partnerships work on the neighborhood scale linked with local resources.
GWD High School Student Evaluations and Testimonials
~ “I learned a lot and got more social, construction, recycling information and do you want?”
~ “It’s hard to get kids interested initially. Once the project was started, people got interested and learned skills. It was a great experience.”
~ “I met a lot of people and learned a lot like leveling bricks, laying them out. It was hard work, but in the end it looked nice. I got paid for something I enjoyed doing.”
~ “The mentors were really nice to me; they really helped—not just running around saying do this, do that. They did help me a lot. I still have their e-mails.”
~ Mayor’s Summer Job Program: “Wonderful experience in a relatively short period of time” – Mayor Ronald V. Dellums