LEAP Utilizing City Workforce Development Grant to Train Time-Served Individuals and Serve Residents

For Immediate Release

Over the last few months, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) utilized funding from the City of Charlottesville’s Community Development Block Grant to support the development of its workforce. This included training two new hires as Retrofit Technicians, helping to weatherize local residents’ homes. 

“LEAP’s operating budget is tight now, because of increasing material costs, so being able to utilize the workforce development grant to train our City-based staff to be more productive is extremely helpful. Because of the additional training they received, we’ve been able to increase their compensation too, which includes full benefits packages,” stated Chris Meyer, Executive Director of LEAP.

LEAP received the workforce development grant after participating in a competitive process managed by the City earlier in the year. Already participating in the City’s Home to Hope program, which supports hiring formerly time-served individuals, LEAP is pairing this workforce training opportunity to support hires made through the Home to Hope program. LEAP’s ability to provide temporary housing out of its office located on Ridge Street in addition to employment makes it a unique program participant.

Both LEAP and the workforce development recipients have been pleased with the results. “This job with LEAP, and the training I’ve received, has given me a good, stable job and a career trajectory, which is something I didn’t have with previous jobs in this town. Thanks to LEAP, I am now a certified Retrofit Installer Technician and leading my own crew,” stated Maquarius Smith, a beneficiary who joined LEAP’s workforce six months ago.

LEAP implements a number of programs for the City to assist low-income residents in reducing their energy use and utility bills. Having local residents on LEAP’s team to do the work, such as insulating attics, ensures its clients are more comfortable with the work being done.

As LEAP’s team members work inside clients’ homes, applicants are screened to ensure they have not had charges for past property crimes in order to respect clients’ safety. Once selected, LEAP’s new hires start by learning on the job before being sent to formal technical training sessions and receiving certification as Retrofit Technicians. After they are certified, their pay is increased and opportunities for further training and promotions become available. LEAP prioritizes low turnover and professional development in its staff, so hiring individuals who consider this technical trade job a career is critical. 

Erin Morgan, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, erin@leap-va.org, 540-407-2412‬


The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. As a trusted nonprofit, LEAP delivers direct education and services for improved energy performance that address climate change; create cost savings for families and businesses; healthier, safer, and more durable buildings; and local jobs and economic growth.

Website: leap-va.org | energysmarthomesva.org
Email: info@leap-va.org
Facebook: Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)
Twitter: @LEAP_VA
Instagram: @leap_va | @solarizevirginia

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