The Santa Fe Community College in cooperation with Santa Fe YouthWorks chose eight young people for the new Green Jobs Apprenticeship Program today.

The program is a pilot project designed to help youth get practical job skills that they can build on for a dependable and environmentally friendly career. There are two tracks, one for plumbing and one for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The participants will earn basic certification in their chosen vocation after one semester, possibly springboarding them into a journeyman program. SFCC and Youthworks are providing full scholarships to the participants for one semester. At the same time, the students will intern at one of the local businesses partnering with the program: Dahl Plumbing; Aranda's Plumbing, Heating and Supply, Inc; Hubbel Mechanical and Anderson Mechanical.

"I feel like we really lucked out with the kids that applied to the program," says Santa Fe Youthworks Job Developer Xochitl Campos. "They’re super-motivated and very excited about this opportunity."

All of the participants are men in the 19 to 26 age range, and some have experience relevant to the trades in question. Campos tells SFR that the partners were hoping to get some women involved in the program, but that didn't happen this time around. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to include further training beyond the certification in the future, Campos says.

"The success of this program is going to affect the future of this program for other people," Campos says.

Although the students will be paid for their two days per week internships, the opportunity is an investment in their futures, not a quick fix, Campos notes.

"I think with the economy being the way it is, I see a lot of people that just want to take work for the sake of taking work," Campos says. "This isn't going to be a huge paycheck, but it’s going to be an investment in their future. What's kind of a feather in their hat is that they’re willing to pursue an education and forgo a 40 hour workweek in order to get the skills they need."