FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2023
Director, Corporate Communications
LA'S CLEANTECH LEADERS CELEBRATE THE START OF FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND ACADEMY
75 students join the first class of the Avantus Cleantech Career Academy, training for success in California’s green economy
LOS ANGELES, Calif — March 28, 2023: Avantus Cleantech Career Academy (Avantus Academy) celebrated its inaugural class of students this week at a kick-off event co-hosted by Avantus (formerly 8minute) and UNITE-LA at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. The academy's founders, partners and local leaders came together to recognize 75 students who are set to begin classes this week, building skills and relationships that will help them thrive in Los Angeles’ clean energy future.
"I am proud of all the students who are standing up to join the fight against climate change," said Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian. "Los Angeles is a climate leader with big goals, including a 100 percent carbon-free electrical system by 2035. These goals call for serious investment. That's why I've proposed a climate budget for Los Angeles, and it's why I'm pleased to see programs like the Avantus Academy investing in the environmental leaders of tomorrow. This is a great thing for our city and for the students who will benefit from a pathway to meaningful, green jobs."
The cleantech industry is on the verge of a boom, and California alone is projected to add 4 million jobs combating climate change by 2045. The Avantus Academy is serving an unmet need in the cleantech industry — engaging the next generation of Angelenos with tailored job preparation and workforce development to enter and excel in clean energy careers.
Founded by Avantus, a leader in the clean energy transition, and UNITE-LA, a well-respected advocate for public education and workforce development systems, the academy is strengthened through thoughtful collaboration with partners in cleantech, education, labor and local government. Key partners include Southern California Edison, Sunrun, Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. Classes begin this week and will continue over the next 12 weeks as students engage in paid, hands-on learning, informed by leading renewable companies in Los Angeles.
"Los Angeles is poised to lead our nation's clean energy future, but we'll need all hands on deck to make this a reality," said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, Founder and CEO of Avantus. "That's where the Avantus Academy comes in — to ensure that our youth are embraced in this transition. Today, Avantus is thrilled to celebrate the 75 changemakers who are about to embark on this innovative program that will provide the education and training they need to shape the future of clean energy right here in Los Angeles."
Yesterday's kick-off celebrated the academy's first class of students and featured remarks from Avantus Founder Dr. Tom Buttgenbach and UNITE-LA President Alysia Bell, a roundtable from leading cleantech companies, and a chance for students to meet classmates, mentors and possible future employers. A total of 75 students were selected from more than 250 applicants to the program. Students' ages range from 16 to 24, are all Los Angeles County residents, and more than 70% of the student body comes from communities under-represented in the cleantech industry.
"This inaugural group of students represents the talent here in our community and demonstrates how investing in our youth is really investing in our city's future," said Alysia Bell, President of UNITE-LA. "UNITE-LA is proud to convene so many partners from throughout Los Angeles who are engaging in the fight against climate change through their support of this next generation of cleantech leaders and we are excited for these students to pave the way for Los Angeles."
The Avantus Academy is powering the clean energy transition in Los Angeles — preparing the next generation of cleantech workers to tackle the city's most pressing climate issues. At the end of the 12-week program, eligible students will receive scholarships to continue their cleantech education and an opportunity to further their experience through internships with local cleantech employers.
The Avantus Cleantech Career Academy is proud to be supported by leading companies and partners throughout Los Angeles. Here's what people are saying about the Avantus Academy:
Cynthia McClain-Hill, President, LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners: "Communities that have been on the frontlines of climate change and environmental impacts need a seat at the table as we build Los Angeles' green economy. The Avantus Academy will be pivotal in helping our talented students seize new careers as Los Angeles builds towards its net-zero future."
Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District: "The Avantus Academy will open new and rewarding opportunities for students from historically marginalized communities in Los Angeles. I am pleased to see how many organizations are partnering to provide our students with a unique way to further their education, develop skills and prepare themselves for well-paying green jobs."
Dr. Karla Estrada, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, LAUSD: "When Los Angeles comes together, we all benefit. The Avantus Academy is an example of how we can bring educators, employers and community organizations together to create life-changing opportunities for our students."
George Pla, CEO, Cordoba Corporation: "Building a cleaner future will create even more need for a skilled, dedicated workforce. Cordoba is proud to partner with the Avantus Academy to help develop that talent pipeline and invest in this next generation."
Hersh Saluja, CEO, E2 Consulting Engineers Inc.: "E2 is excited to join the Avantus Academy in investing in our green workforce of the future. A career in cleantech can be a meaningful and rewarding path, and we are honored to help extend that opportunity to more students throughout Los Angeles."
Elizabeth Martinez, Vice President of Business Development, Meruelo Enterprises: "Amid booming investments in renewable energy, the nation is facing a massive shortage of workers, including nearly half a million in the construction industry alone. The Avantus Academy bridges the gap between the growth of the renewables sector and the workforce needed to match this growth, and Meruelo is proud to partner on this initiative in support of the nation's net-zero goals."
Lauren Nevitt, Director of Public Policy, Sunrun: "Sunrun is thrilled to partner with the Avantus Academy by investing in the students of Los Angeles. Preparing the next generation for careers in cleantech is a win-win for our communities and our climate future."
For more information on the Avantus Cleantech Career Academy, please visit www.avantusacademy.org.
Avantus is shaping the future by making reliable, low-cost clean energy a global reality. Our legacy of leadership in next generation solar energy includes developing the nation’s largest solar cluster and the first plant to beat fossil fuel prices back in 2016. Today, we are expanding the boundaries of existing technologies to build one of the largest portfolios of smart power plants with integrated storage, capable of providing 30 million people with affordable, zero-emission energy – day and night. Through our relentless pursuit of better, we are decarbonizing our planet at the gigaton level, and bringing the advantages of clean energy to all of us.
Over the past 25 years, UNITE-LA has been a trusted business intermediary, dedicated to supporting the development of an effective local public education system, so that all children and youth succeed in college, career and beyond. Through the intersection of programming, policy, and systems change efforts, UNITE-LA works to increase access to high-quality early childhood education, develop career pathways in high-growth industries, improve college access and success, and ensure workforce readiness, especially for individuals with high barriers into the workforce.