Kathryn Barnett, 2011 Graduate
“My whole passion and fight is to be more involved with Detroiters—get them involved in the community,” says Kathryn Barnett, a 2011 graduate of the Green Jobs Program. Barnett had always been a people person—before training with DWEJ, she worked with the elderly at a nursing home, among other jobs—but the Green Jobs Program elevated her to a new level of engagement with her city. She now works with Community Legal Resources, an organization that provides pro bono legal assistance to nonprofits and low-income individuals and communities in Michigan. She is also active in the Detroit Parent Network. The Green Jobs Program opened Barnett’s eyes to the health consequences of chemical contamination, motivating her to work towards cleaning up Detroit neighborhoods. It also inspired a change in her personal habits: after learning about the 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, she quit tobacco. Barnett advocates for enhancing the beauty in Detroit despite its lasting scars. “We don’t care if a drug dealer is living in that house—let’s clean up his house too,” she says of neighborhood clean-up projects. “Let’s get involved, let’s just do it.”
Vincent Beavers, 2009 Graduate
Vincent Beavers, a 2009 graduate of the Green Jobs Program, found out about the training through a neighborhood block meeting. Since the program, he has been working as an installer at WellHome, a home weatherization and energy efficiency company, for almost three years. Beavers credits the Green Jobs Program with giving him an “inside channel” to the job search process. The interviewing practice he did in the course meant that, by the time he had to go to a real interview, he was ready. Beavers’ interviewers were impressed by his long list of certifications—certifications that often make him the go-to person on the job. “They come to me about it,” he says.
Fernando Daniel, 2011 Graduate
Fernando Daniel came to the Green Jobs Program by way of a halfway house. He says his discovery of the training program was a “spiritual situation” that allowed him to meet the right people at the right time. “I learned I had to go back to school in order to better myself—and I did better myself,” he says. Since graduating from the Green Jobs Program in 2011, Daniel got connected with TGap and has since worked for EQ (Environmental Quality), doing clean-up jobs in factories all over the city. After the summer 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, Daniel worked on clean-up there for two months. He says that the certifications he earned through the Green Jobs Program, particularly the HAZWOPER and asbestos training, open up opportunities for work he couldn’t have secured otherwise. With asbestos, “you can’t be half-stepping,” Daniel says. He speaks of the training program as the push he needed to turn his life around. “The work is always there”; it’s just a matter of positioning himself to do it.
Jarrod Nelson, 2010 Graduate
Jarrod Nelson is a July 2010 graduate of the Green Jobs Program. “It is a great program. All you have to do is show up and be interested. You have to be proactive and go after it,” says Jarrod. Since his graduation, he has maintained a steady job in various types of environmental work. “I’ve been everywhere from Indiana, Kentucky, Kalamazoo, and back to Detroit.” He worked at the GM plant on 8 Mile, traveled south for Tornado clean-up, dealt with hazardous waste in nuclear plants, and EQ (Environmental Quality). As if that was not keeping him busy enough, he also aided with the Kalamazoo River oil spill clean-up for two months in 2010. The Green Training Program helped equip Jarrod with the necessary tools and skills to do the work he enjoys.
Dijon Beyers, 2009 Graduate
Dijon Beyers heard of our Green Jobs Training Program on the radio one day which convinced him to take a new path in life. He graduated in 2009 and has been keeping busy ever since. He has taken on new jobs and responsibilities while also contributing to the rebuilding of Detroit by cleaning up the city. Commenting on the DWEJ program, Beyers states, “Everybody was genuine and very welcoming. Kinnus and Charles are great instructors.” He would refer this program to anyone who is “willing to take on a new opportunity. DWEJ is the place to go.” His job experiences since graduation have been working with contaminated soils and also working on clean up at Zug Island.
“Knowing that I went through class and got the exposure to asbestos, I’ve actually worked with a company doing lead. I think I like lead better. A classmate was working with an asbestos company and wearing the suit in the summer with the heat and all of that didn’t seem as appealing as the lead part. But it’s an opportunity you know to learn more. I took the training and when I started the class I said to myself I don’t know which of these fields for my own. No one person can do everything we learned on a consistent basis, but pick up 2 or 3 or 4 of them and still having the overall knowledge of all we learned. I like working with lead.
I was working with Shultes Realty. It was located on 12 mile, a residential job. I was building the containment and a group of other people came in and pulling out windows while I was HEPA vacuuming and building the containment to keep the lead contained. I did it for one month and then my car broke down and couldn’t continue to get to all the different sites because we were working out in Royal Oak and a few other places in the city. From this class there were two other students that had gone through DWEJ, and then he had other contractors that did windows and frames and whatnot.”