DETROIT — Detroit residents, local businesses and nonprofits that are committed to being environmentally conscious and eco-friendly can connect to the green economy through a new interactive website, DetroitGreenMap.com. The project is funded by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, in collaboration with the Detroit Area Green Sector Skills Alliance and the US Green Building Council’s Detroit Regional Chapter Emerging Professionals Group.
The main goal of the project is to increase communication and shared resources to establish Detroit as a premier example of the new green economy. Through combined efforts, residents, local businesses and nonprofits supporting green issues can create greater synergy than they would addressing issues independently.
“DetroitGreenMap.com aims to build a connection between Detroiters and the green resources, products, and organizations in their area,” Yazmin Nava said, USGBC EP Committee Community Marketing Director for the Detroit Green Map Project. “By educating Detroiters of their vibrant green economy, the Detroit green map will empower and inspire them to reinvest in their city.”
The Detroit Green Map Project provides two searchable maps. The open green map allows users to explore and support Detroit’s green economy by searching the database of organizations that have committed to being green. The map is designed to be interactive with the public, allowing users to comment and add photos about a business or nonprofit’s green practices in five categories: sustainable living, nature, culture and society, routes and areas.
The second searchable map is the pledge map that highlights green organizations that have pledged to support the goal of “green collar” employment in Detroit. Current members are local green businesses, green enterprises or eco-justice organizations that support sustainable living and an environmentally conscious culture and society. These organizations work with local Detroit area job training, development and placement organizations to hire qualified Detroit talent.
“Our ultimate goal is to employ Detroiters through the Detroit Green Map Project,” Karen Tyler-Ruiz said, director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. “As this initiative helps increase donations to nonprofits engaged in green initiatives, as well as the number of residents who buy locally, a more sustainable Detroit will emerge and, through economic growth, will ultimately create more jobs in the city.”
There are thirty organizations that are pledged members of the Detroit Green Map Project to date, including Walker-Miller Energy Services, Detroit Training Center and Theragarden.
A participant pledge form is available on DetroitGreenMap.com for organizations to publicly commit to growing the green economy of Detroit and to become an active participant in the Detroit Area Green Sector Skills Alliance.
Additionally, DAGSSA supports the Detroit green economy through four Solutions Teams created to meet employer needs, create job opportunities for Detroit residents and build career pathways for workers in areas such as energy retrofitting, renewable energies and green building.
- Training, Hiring and Staffing — This team comprised of employers and workforce development agencies, clearly understand the green economy as an emerging industry in the greater Detroit area. Both agree that connecting more Detroiters to green job opportunities enhances industry growth and capacity. As a condition of their participation in DAGSSA, employers sign a pledge to hire Detroit talent and commit to 90-day onboarding coaching and support.
- Policies — Members of DAGSSA have been trained on a variety of environmental and green policy issues to become advocates at the local and state levels. Most recently, members were involved in providing input to Governor Snyder’s state energy plan.
- Financing — This team is currently working toward crowd funding and other strategies to secure long term financing to make energy efficiency and renewable energies more accessible and help grow and expand the green economy in Detroit.
- Marketing and Education — Sales and marketing training programs have been designed to increase existing employees’ ability to sell green products and services. This training also provides an opportunity to train new potential employees and introduce them to potential employers. Participating businesses also agree to sign the membership pledge of support for the Detroit Green Map Project. This team is also working on a variety of consumer education initiatives and the roll out of the Detroit Green Map Project.
“The USGBC-DRC-EP committee seeks to engage dynamic sustainability professionals and volunteers in opportunities that contribute to the growth of local green economies,” Alessandra Carreon said, past chair of USGBC’s Emerging Professionals National Committee and DRC EP Committee member. “The Detroit green map acts as a tool to attract individuals to pursue professional and personal interests in sustainability within Detroit’s city limits. This project will serve as a catalyst for EPs to explore and develop Detroit’s greenest features.”
Currently, there are 863 green map projects in 69 countries. The Detroit green map is one of five in Michigan.
To become a member or to learn more about the Detroit Green Map Project, please visit www.detroitgreenmap.com.