02/21/2013 04:50 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2013

Proud Father and Grandfather Touts GBCE's Green Jobs Initiatives!

A few years ago, my organization, ABCD, Inc., gave birth to a community development corporation! Action for Bridgeport Community Development is the venerable anti-poverty agency for our part of the world. And we have deep knowledge of what the community needs are in an old, rust-belt City like ours: JOBS! So, while we deliver a very wide range of services to more than 35,000 clients, we have always supported programs that strengthen small and minority businesses so that more jobs could be created for low-income folks across the district. This interest led to the desire to create a community development corporation in Bridgeport that focused on job creation in the growing green economy and training folks for these new jobs.

Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, GBCE, was born out of real and great need to address the employment deficit in the city and region. And that's what Adrienne Houël and her team are doing. We have collaborated with GBCE on several green jobs initiatives such as the development of Weatherization training curriculum, the first in the state to teach low-income, unemployed folks how to make homes energy efficient. In other words, together, ABCD and GBCE showed out-of-work residents how to gain the expertise to work on Weatherization crews, and, in turn, they worked on Bridgeport homes so that our families would save money on heating and A/C. Once we graduated the first class, GBCE formed their first Weatherization crew and began working under contract to ABCD. Also, in the next year, several of ABCD's best Weatherization Auditors and Inspectors came out of GBCE classes. Even in those early days of the Great Recession, everybody who graduated from GBCE's Weatherization classes got a job! In the state of CT, we are getting ready for another campaign for energy conservation at all levels: both residential and commercial. We know GBCE is ready to join us on this front in the leadership for training and contracting. This is just the kind of multiple-bottom-line business that we always wanted to create; it does social good, saves the environment, saves money for our communities and puts our low-income families on the track to financial independence.

I'm pretty happy with my descendants so far. Baby GBCE has produced two grandkids for me: the Green Team, a contracting enterprise specializing in the abatement of hazardous materials, energy conservation/weatherization, and deconstruction/materials recycling; and Park City Green, a mattress deconstruction/materials recycling company. GBCE has created 33 jobs since its inception in 2007 and is on track to create 100 more over the next 5 years. The vehicle for that is the new Green Business Hub that will nurture and grow the two existing businesses while founding 3 new, green, waste stream diversion businesses. The Hub will become the new center for GBCE's offices, new business R & D, and our green job training program in space adjacent to Park City Green in Bridgeport's South End neighborhood. And, through shared services and capacity-building expertise, GBCEs businesses will save money and gain in efficiency.

So that's my story that I wanted to you to know. GBCE and the grandkids were worth the effort to create them. They are doing well, but need your help to continue to grow and make a bigger impact.

Please DONATE to GBCE today!