We sat down with Greenwork CEO and Co-founder, Sam Steyer, to learn about how his organization is fostering connection and streamlining the green workforce community. Greenwork is a platform that connects the best companies in solar, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, logistics, and the trades to fill some of the fastest growing job categories in America. At the same time, Greenwork allows training programs to build trust with high-quality employers and connects many students with employers over time. You can watch the brief conversation or read through the transcript provided below.
Brit: Hello, HeatSpring community. We are here with Sam Steyer. He is the CEO and Co-founder of Greenwork. And Greenwork is such an exciting organization. You guys are doing so much great work in the industry. So what is Greenwork? What do you guys do?
Sam: Hi, HeatSpring. You are exactly who we built Greenwork for. Thank you for having me on. Greenwork is the online community for clean energy skills. We are a free platform, where you can sign up and record and show off your clean energy certifications and work experiences. You can connect with school communities, sub-communities for schools. So if you’ve taken a HeatSpring course, you can join the HeatSpring community on Greenwork.
And if you’re looking for a job, you can connect with employers and see job postings that are mapped back to skills. So you’ll see a post and it’ll say this is a great fit for someone who has a NABCEP PV Associate or OSHA 10 or has experience with construction. But there is job search on Greenwork, but it’s not just about job search.
It is really a community for people who are learning technical skills and clean energy.
Brit: That’s amazing, such a huge need. And when you guys were developing…what was the opportunity or the challenge that you guys were trying to solve?
Sam: It really is an opportunity and a challenge. We looked at the huge need for talent in decarbonizing the US economy that, you know, the amount of solar we’re going to build and homes and businesses we’re gonna electrify and new forms of transportation was going to require, you know, more engineers and skilled trades people and installers than currently exist.
And on the one hand, that’s a challenge because we think it’s the biggest constraint on the growth of the industry today is skilling up enough people.
And on the other hand, it’s a huge opportunity because these are meaningful, high paying, awesome jobs. And it’s a great opportunity for terrific people like the people taking HeatSpring courses.
Brit: Great. Yeah. And that kind of gets me to my next question is who is the platform for? Is it just trades people? Is it just engineers? Can anybody get on the platform?
Sam: Anybody can get on the platform. The kinds of profiles that you can build on Greenwork, the kinds of jobs really lend themselves to anyone who has technical skills. So skilled trades people and engineers, you’ll really have product that is built to showcase your knowledge and skills and put your best foot forward.
Brit: Great. And so for an interested job-seeker, what is the best way for them to engage with your platform?
Sam: So start just by joining. Our website is joingreenwork.com and there’s a big get started button at the top. And that’ll send you on your path. If you are a graduate or an alum or a current student of a school, HeatSpring especially, your school can invite you to join their workspace. [Here is the link to join the HeatSpring workspace.]
So talk to Brit if you’re at HeatSpring, or just let us know. You can email email@example.com and we’ll get it sorted, but we want to make sure that you get credit for being an alum or a member of the school.
Brit: Great. And one last question is, do you have any success stories or anybody who you’ve seen and helped get jobs that maybe can get people excited about what y’all are doing?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve had a number of folks in California who were a part of the California Conservation Corps, an awesome program out here where people are learning to do energy retrofits and forest management, who got on Greenwork, started doing some online learning about solar, and now have taken jobs and are working with residential and commercial solar installation companies out here.
And we’re really proud to have folks like that on the platform who are really combining academic knowledge learning and hands-on work, learning to use the power tools, get out there and do energy retrofits on buildings. And we found that solar companies and other clean energy companies really valued that as well. So you know, we’re a relatively new community, but people are not only on the platform, but actively getting jobs. There’s people working for residential solar companies out here who got that job through Greenwork.
Brit: Wow. That is very cool to hear. So, on the other hand, we’ve talked about it a little bit from the job seeker side. What if companies are listening to this and they’re struggling to find employees – which companies are not right now – how can they engage with your platform and how can they get started?
Sam: Employers can join Greenwork and make a profile where they can both show off information about their own company and the kinds of skills they value and also directly message users who are on the platform who they think that would like to meet.
And there is a short-term and a long-term goal. Employers can message a candidate and say we’d like to set up an interview and hire and they do.
They also can be there to build a long-term brand as an employer that invests in training that cares about skills and to communicate with schools. We think that there’s a lot of value in employers partnering with awesome schools, like HeatSpring, to understand the curriculum and really be prepared to build a long term hiring pipeline with people who graduate from specific programs.
Today, we onboard employers as a partnership. So the best way to get involved is to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you on the platform very quickly.
Brit: That’s exciting. That’s exciting stuff. And is there any other information that you want to share, maybe about Greenwork or about your history or about your evolution or anything that might be exciting for prospective job-seekers, employers, or school partners?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. So two things, one we do a virtual event every month, focused on a specific subtopic in clean energy. And we have exciting companies come on and talk about what they do, talk about careers in the field, and meet people if they’re looking for a job. Many people who come aren’t looking for a job, just to learn about cool things that are going on.
Our May event will focus on solar. It’ll be on May 3rd at 4:00 PM EST. I can send them a link to sign up. So I’d say that’s one thing.
And then the other thing I’d say is we actually initially envisioned Greenwork as an online school. And we quickly learned that there are just great clean energy training programs out there already.
You know, we’re a huge fan of HeatSpring. There are lots of local community colleges that have great hands-on programs. We’ve done a lot with Solar Energy International – have been great. There’s really strong, existing training out there. And I think we ended up seeing that we should be more in a community building/coordination function.
We’ve found it exciting that while we need to bring a lot more people into clean energy, there are people like Brit and others who already are expert trainers and teachers and instructors. And I think that we’re all gonna have really good guides leading us on the clean energy skills journey.
And so we’re hoping that Greenwork will be the place where experts, like Britt, can meet and engage with folks who are coming into the industry.
Brit: Awesome. Yes. I think from my role here at Headspring, I see a huge need. In a previous role, when I was a workforce manager at GRID Alternatives, which is a solar nonprofit, there was a huge need there too, you know, connecting graduates from the program to the countless employers who are looking for people ready to dive into the clean energy industry.
So I’ve seen such a huge need for the work that Greenwork is doing, so I’m thrilled to have you guys here. I’m thrilled to share your organization and your mission. And I hope a lot of people go check out Greenwork, get signed up, see how you can participate in the platform and hopefully grow the clean energy industry and beyond.
Sam: Thanks, Brit. Thanks for the opportunity to be here. And I said it once before, but we’re joingreenwork.com. I think greenwork.com it’s someone’s personal website. So joingreenwork.com. We’d bring you the best. Thank you very much for having me on.