Young Community Developers

The SOMAH Program partners with dozens of job training organizations and community-based organizations across California to strengthen our  resident outreach through trusted messengers. Through their person-to-person connections, these partners elevate SOMAH’s value to the community and help deliver the benefits of solar to more people. 

To showcase this essential on-the-ground work, we’re shining the spotlight on two key partners serving the Bay Area: Young Community Developers (YCD) and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN).

Job Training Organization Spotlight: YCD

Established in 1973, Young Community Developers is a 501(3) community-based nonprofit organization that aims to break cycles of poverty and build sustainable, generational economic mobility. YCD provides a variety of career training opportunities for the residents of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. 

YCD helps its participants connect to SOMAH paid solar training by referring eligible trainees to the SOMAH job portal to create profiles, upload resumes and find solar installation projects in their area. One YCD alumni, Jesse Garcia, stood out as a motivated, quick learner in his SOMAH paid job training experience and was soon hired as a full-time solar installer by the project contractor, Sun Light & Power. Jesse’s inspiring success story can be found in the Resource Library. 

YCD’s senior technical training director Dr. Mitchell Smith has been an integral member of SOMAH’s Job Training Organization Task Force (JTOTF) since it launched in 2020. Dr. Smith brings over 30 years of experience in youth mentorship and education to the JTOTF. His valued recommendations help the SOMAH Program evolve and adapt to address challenges and opportunities for job trainees and job training organizations . 

Community-Based Organization Spotlight: APEN

The Asian Pacific Environmental Network is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice. For 30 years, APEN has advocated to improve the quality of life for California’s Asian immigrant and refugee communities. The organization has also built a membership base of Laotian refugees in Richmond and Chinese immigrants in Oakland. 

APEN played a pivotal role in championing  Assembly Bill 693, the legislation that created the SOMAH Program. The initiative is part of their “Power to the Frontlines” campaign to bring the benefits of renewable energy to renters in their communities. Shortly after the program launched in 2019, APEN produced an engaging short film to increase awareness of SOMAH in their communities. 

As a trusted partner, APEN supports SOMAH’s outreach to Bay Area affordable housing developers, contractors, potential job trainees, government stakeholders, and the community at large with on-the-ground participation at resource fairs and leadership development workshops.

As more SOMAH installations are completed, APEN continues to support the program with tenant education that meets residents where they are at – both physically in their communities, and with in-language, accessible workshops. These efforts help residents understand their utility bills, the environmental and economic benefits from solar and  how they can save energy at home. In September 2023, APEN joined residents of an Oakland senior affordable housing community to celebrate the completion of a SOMAH-incentivized solar PV system and connect with elders about the positive changes they can expect with SOMAH.

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