The purpose of the regional Job Training Organization (JTO) Task Force is to ensure that the voices and interests of job training organizations remain at the forefront of the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program’s job training efforts and that trainees have a meaningful and career-advancing experience.

The JTO Task Force meets quarterly to discuss benefits, challenges and opportunities for job trainees and job training organizations and make recommendations to the SOMAH Program Administrator. The Task Force bylaws, purpose, and meeting notes can be found under Meeting Notes and Bylaws. Members of the inaugural cohort serving from the beginning of 2020 through the end of 2021 are listed below. The new JTO Task Force cohort will be announced in March 2022 and will serve a two-year term from Quarter 1 2022 through Quarter 4 2023. 

Jeff Trirogoff

President, Elements of Earth and Energy

Jeff is the President of Elements of Earth and Energy.  He is an active General Building (B), Electrical (C-10), and Solar (C-46) Contractor licensed by the California State License Board. He is a Certified NABCEP PV System Inspector and PV Installation Professional; former Registered NABCEP PV Associate Instructor (2019); and volunteer Team Leader for GRID Alternatives, since 2011.

Jeff has been working for affordable housing developers ensuring the projects become certified as Zero Net Energy (DOE); Water Sense, Energy Star and Indoor airPLUS (EPA); and LEED Platinum (GBC), since 2016.  He is a former mentor and trainer for the SCE Energy Upgrade California program, from 2012-2016.

Jeff has an innate passion to help provide all California residents with clean air, water, power, and fresh, healthy food.  He strives to protect public health and safety, improve the financial stability of small businesses in underserved communities, foster local economies through workforce development, promote the healthy living of our communities and positively impact social change.  Born and raised in Southern California, he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Economics at UCLA in 1994.  He now resides with his wife in Humboldt County, Northern California.

Danny Gonzales

Job Developer/Industrial Specialist at Center for Employment Training Colton

Danny is the current Job Developer and Industrial Specialist at CET Colton, and has worked in Community Development, Career Transitions, Job Placement, and has networked with employers with over 10 years of experience.  Danny serves on 6 Boards and Advisory Councils in the Industrial Fields.

Danny is involved in community outreach in the greater Inland Empire, and partners with many organizations to help those with barriers, overcome life’s challenges, by offering life skills classes, housing development and referrals, education pathways, career and job development, transportation resources, and community resources.  Linking prospects in the community with Energy Programs that are available.

Stuart Cooley

Professor, Santa Monica College

Stuart is a former professor of renewable energies at Santa Monica College (SMC) where he taught courses as part of the Sustainable Technologies Program, which prepares both young adults and returning workers with skills for careers in clean energy technologies, including solar PV installation, solar design, solar sales and marketing, solar finance and energy efficiency investments. Prior to SMC, he was an energy efficiency engineer within the City of Santa Monica’s Environmental Programs Division where he aided the city on efficiency projects, a thermal energy storage project and continuous promotion of renewable energy including the start of Solar Santa Monica, a city program to add significant capacity on local rooftops.

He has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hawaii with specialization in renewable energy engineering and received his bachelor’s of science in physical science from the University of Maryland-College Park. He also serves on the USGBC-LA Board.

Wes Olson

Instructor, Green Building Construction Program, Center for Employment Training — Oxnard

Wes has over 30 years of experience in the construction field. He has held his California State General Contractors (B) license since 1998 and has been self-employed since 2000. He started his construction profession after high school as a laborer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has worked as a carpenter, plumber and electrician and solar installer since the early 1980s. He returned to school and received his degree in construction technology at Ventura College and in turn acquired his contractor’s license. He currently works as an instructor with CET in Oxnard, CA, teaching the Green Building Construction skills class. He also volunteers with his students with GRID and Habitat for Humanity, having helped build over 16 homes.

Dr. Smith

Senior Technical Training Director, Young Community Developers, Inc.

Mitchell Smith, Ed.D. is a lifelong educator whose career started over 30 years ago as Executive Director of a nonprofit youth program that gave inner city youth a chance to succeed academically by placing them in environments more conducive for learning. He provided the leadership, guidance, and motivation to hundreds of students during his tenure. Born and raised in NYC, Dr. Smith understands the challenges that urban areas face, and gives insight to the teaching methodologies that must be in place for students of all ages to succeed. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts receiving degrees in Educational Leadership. Dr. Smith has led numerous workshops and training seminars in the areas of workforce education, self-awareness, and gang violence prevention. He continues to do motivational speaking engagements to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth and adults. For a number of years Dr. Smith was in a corporate career as an educational consultant / sales strategist. McGraw Hill, Pearson Group, and Host Learning are several companies that utilized the skills and talents of Dr.Smith to provide quality educational solutions to its clients. Highlighted in Money Magazine in May 2010, Dr. Smith made a career change and began to work within the Solar Industry challenging and training inner city displaced workers to pursue careers in the solar industry. While independently consulting with community-based organizations to develop curriculum and instruction for workforce development he trained staff and students in solar design and installation. He continues to provide curriculum for workforce development and incorporates harm reduction strategies for youth and adult populations. Dr. Smith believes that training and mentoring young men and women effectively to succeed in the workplace should be at the forefront of every discussion concerning our viable future. Currently he is Senior Technical Training Director for Young Community Developers, Inc., a nonprofit organization inspiring and empowering residents in the Southeast sector of San Francisco, CA through job readiness training and employment counseling. There he manages curriculum and instruction for their staff and customers.

Senait Forthal

Executive Director, OC Goes Solar

Senait is the executive director of OC Goes Solar (OCGS), a 501(c)3 community-based organization. OCGS focuses on reducing barriers and increasing access to renewable energy to all homeowners in Orange County, especially in underserved communities. Senait is a founding member of the organization and was instrumental in assisting over 350 homeowners to go solar through the organization’s solarize group discount program. She is a trained solar professional with 7 years of consulting experience both in solar and energy efficiency. She is also the vice chair of the Green Ribbon Environmental Committee for the City of Irvine and was part of the team that drafted the ‘Irvine Achieves Resolution’, which is the city’s declaration of a climate emergency. She also serves on the Citizen Advisory Committee for the newly formed Orange County Power Authority, a community choice aggregator (CCA). A lifelong environmental/climate justice advocate, she is an active member of the Climate Reality Project OC and a member of Orange County Environmental Justice. Senait has a BA in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine and is also a trained product/industrial designer.

Jon Caffery

Regional Director of Employer Engagement (RDEE) for Energy, Construction, and Utilities in the Orange County Region and former regional director for the Inland Empire/Desert Region and San Diego/Imperial Valley Region.

Jon was the owner of Caffery Electric Inc. and First Priority Mortgage, Inc. from 1985 to 2007. After the mortgage industry fell into disarray, he began consulting work for the College of the Desert, which blossomed into a new career. He then moved to Hawaii and began working for the University of Hawaii as a grants administrator. Jon returned to the Coachella Valley in 2014 and joined the College of the Desert as a regional grants director.

Jon earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Colorado Christian University and a master’s degree in adult education from Auburn University. He is currently a doctoral candidate for education leadership and management at Capella University.

Noah Arzola

Recruitment Specialist for William M. Maguy School of Education

Noah Arzola has been in the energy sector as a career developer for eight years serving in various roles in the industry. He has worked alongside several solar developers in the central valley and across the nation to recruit their workforce needs, as well as collaborated with local unions on specific industry-related training that would lead to green energy employment. Arzola currently serves as the Recruitment Specialist for Proteus Inc. a non-profit CBO that trains students to become EERE Technicians. He is involved with the school's career exploration program that seeks out industry partners to serve on its advisory committees. He has served in research and development for the William M. Maguy School of Education for new CTE Training, Licensure, and Certifications to enhance employability for graduates. Prior to getting involved in the energy sector, he was a Realtor/ Office Manager and was involved as a Real Estate investing partner with local entrepreneurs that had start-up businesses.

Genevieve Jones

Director, Career Education Program at Owens Valley Career Development Center-Bishop, CA

Genevieve is the Director of the OVCDC-Career Education Program located in Bishop, CA.  Career Ed is a CTE program funded by the Office of Career Technical Adult Education, OCTAE-DOE-NACTEP Department of Education-Native American Career Technical Education Program.  The NACTEP grant allows Ms. Jones to provide Industry recognized and accredited training to Native American adults in Inyo and Mono Counties. She works closely with the local Cerro Coso Community College-Eastern Sierra College Center and the Kern Community College District of Bakersfield, CA. One of the training programs that she has been working with for the past 14 years is a Construction Trades Program and within the past three years has included an accredited Solar/Electrical program.

Genevieve is a former elementary-middle-school teacher, graduating from Humboldt State Universities’ Indian Teacher Preparation Personnel Program.  She currently serves as the Tribal Council Secretary for the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley where she is an enrolled member and employed with OVCDC since 2002.

OVCDC is an Inter-Tribal Family Service Organization established in 1976 in Inyo & Mono Counties.  In 2002 OVCDC became the third largest recipient of the Tribal TANF grant programs in the US (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). OVCDC has since grown and established in seven counties in California that include, Inyo, Mono, Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno and Ventura.

Janie Hodge

Executive Director and Treasurer, Paving the Way Foundation

My name is Janie Hodge, I am an Afro-American woman of senior age, a native of Los Angeles, California. My professional background includes founding and operating a non-profit organization since 2006.  We are a 501 c 3 non-profit corporation located in Lancaster, CA.  We are a family-oriented organization that provides soft skills, job training, job placement and referrals to those in need, including those experiencing homelessness, formerly incarcerated, those suffering with substance abuse or mental health.  Our mission is to enable people of all walks of life to be as healthy and active as possible by assisting them to maintain the highest quality of purpose, improving the quality of their lives. Our value statement is a “Hand out for a hand up is the key that unlocks the door to success”.

Meeting Notes and Bylaws

Notes on future proceedings will be posted on SOMAH's website each quarter.