Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development

Rafael Galdamez, a project engineer for Access Pacific General Contractors, knows that environmental and sustainable building is a rapidly growing market. And so, he enrolled in a special program that taught him how to qualify for government contracts to renovate buildings to be more environmentally sound.

Armed with his new knowledge and skills, Galdamez recently attended the Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development at the East Rancho Dominguez Library, seeking to expand his company’s business.

“I am here to learn about certifications and trainings to compete on green projects so our company is more competitive,” said Galdamez.

[raw]The Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development was sponsored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Citi Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative. More than 30 business owners, contractors and city officials gathered together inside the East Rancho Dominguez Library, the only county-owned building that received LEED Platinum certification for its environmentally sustainable construction and design.

“We must lead the way in bringing more sustainable building practices to Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Energy efficient building creates employment opportunities and preserves our environment.”

Among the attendees was California State Senator Kevin De Leόn, who co-authored energy efficiency legislation, Senate Bill 39, the Clean Energy Employment and Student Advancement Act of 2013.

The summit focused on how to take advantage of financing and training programs that are available to cities, school districts and publicly-owned buildings. The event also marked the completion of a free, seven-week program called the E-Contractor Academy Program, which provides contractors with support, information and training to bid on projects.[/raw]

The academy is a collaborative effort between, the County of Los Angeles, Citi Community Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative to help contractors understand how to bid on green projects in LA County.

“E-Contractor Academy introduces small, minority contractors to the process of working on energy efficiency projects,” said Veronica Soto, Emerald Cities LA program manager. “The program is about building a completive capacity for contractors to compete and execute energy efficiency projects.”

Green building brings many advantages, including lower energy and water costs, reduced waste, less exposure to toxic materials and improvements in natural surroundings with drought tolerant and native landscaping. Los Angeles County spends approximately $150 million year to heat, cool and light its buildings.

The Green Cities, More Jobs Economic Summit is part of the larger Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) pilot program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to provide greater local government control of energy efficiency initiatives. The SoCalRen includes more than 50 municipalities committed to lowering their buildings’ energy consumption.

“We are helping residents and contractors from low and moderate income communities compete for LA County projects and for over $2 billion a year of state and utility energy efficiency investments,” said Denise Fairchild, President/CEO of Emerald Cities, a national nonprofit sustainable development firm.

To learn more about the free E- Contractor program, please visit: