Deborah Scott Executive director, STAND-UP; founder, TRADE-UP

Deborah Scott, a 2012 “White House Champion of Change for Greening Our Cities and Towns,” is a leader in national initiatives to build green industries and a 21st-century American work force. Convener of Emerald Cities Atlanta, and a key figure in Atlanta’s Better Buildings Challenge, she supports large-scale retrofitting of commercial and institutional buildings for energy efficiency, high-road job creation, and sustainable economic growth. Driven by principles of social responsibility, economic equity, and environmental stewardship, she is Executive Director of STAND-UP, a “Think and Act Tank for Working Communities,” and founder of TRADE-UP, a national model for prep-apprenticeship and workforce development. Ms. Scott has built coalitions among neighborhood groups, labor, business, and environmentalists, with significant success in community development, workforce advances, and training that enables workers and their families to advance toward solid, middle-class lives.

As a “Think and Act Tank for Working Communities,” STAND-UP is a research center, expert policy analyst, and clearinghouse for best practices in community development, including planning and neighborhood revitalization; entrepreneurship and business development; employment and job skills; and communication and advocacy. STAND-UP is active throughout the southeast region, providing technical assistance to support collaborative partnerships, leadership, community benefit strategies, and basic organizing techniques. STAND-UP defines directions for community development and enables effective grassroots implementation through efforts such as the “Fort McPherson Community Development Plan,” acknowledged by the American Planning Association with these words: “APA’s National Planning, Excellence, Achievement, and Leadership Awards honor the best planning efforts and individuals that create communities of lasting value.”

TRADE-UP is a prototype prep-apprenticeship program created in partnership with the Atlanta/North Georgia Building Trades. It provides low-wealth communities access to emerging employment opportunities in strategic industries such as specialized construction, energy, fabrication, and other high-wage trades. TRADE-UP provides training leading to apprenticeships in 21 skill areas targeting building retrofits for energy efficiency, resource conservation technologies, alternative energy, and other green initiatives. TRADE-UP represents an entrepreneurial approach to job creation that emphasizes micro-business formation, labor-intensive service niches, and other strategies that offer innovative solutions to employment and neighborhood stability.

Ms. Scott has over 25 years of experience as an organizer, trainer, and expert implementer of complex, mission-driven initiatives. Widely recognized as a thought leader in community development, she is an effective builder and sustainer of collaborative programs, combining bold innovation with an effective management style. She has been active as an organizer and political consultant, providing advice to three Atlanta mayoral administrations, including service with former Mayor Maynard Jackson. She has served on the staffs of the Georgia Legislature, the Democratic National Committee, and the Voter Education Project. Her prominence as a collaborative leader has led to the establishment of regional tables on equity in transportation policy and economic opportunity. She continues to provide project management and strategic support for non-profits and community-based organizations across the country, including a unique ability to build successful partnerships linking communities, business, and labor.

Ms. Scott has served on numerous boards and governance bodies, including as a Founding Officer and Vice Chair of the Beltline Network, as well as serving on the Executive Committee of the Beltline Tax Allocation District; The Women’s Policy Group and the Fund for Southern Communities; the National Family Medical Leave Consortium; and a founding member of S.O.S. (Saving Ourselves), a volunteer relief team that supported Gulf Coast residents after Hurricane Katrina. A student leader in Oberlin, Ohio, and at Clark Atlanta University in the 1980s, she met the Rev. Joseph Lowery at a national youth conference and became committed to a career in social change. Ms. Scott is a founding member of the National Executive Board of Directors for the Partnership for Working Families. She serves on the Mayor’s Atlanta Green Jobs Taskforce, the Belt Line Taskforce, and the Screen Gems Community Jobs Taskforce. Convener of the Emerald Cities Atlanta coalition, she is a recognized leader in the development of community-based strategies for economic growth based on energy innovation and green building technologies.

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