By Katrina Hagedorn
Image by Trang Nguyen
Climate change is not just an individual issue, state problem, or national concern. It is one of the greatest challenges the world has ever faced.
The current workforce is not ready to undertake the challenge of transitioning to a clean economy. Additionally, marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. Given both of these issues, SEI aims to strengthen leaders across communities and integrate environmental justice, equity, community engagement, and collaboration into all of its programs. Our Climate Corps program has been doing this work in collaboration with communities across California for over a decade. We are excited to announce that we have been expanding Climate Corps into new areas to help drive a national workforce transformation! One such area is the Pacific Northwest, including the state of Oregon.
Within Oregon, a diverse group of organizations has partnered to develop the ‘Oregon Climate Equity Project,’ which will broaden the climate movement in the state and strengthen BIPOC leadership in climate policy, advocacy, and development. In the Project, five Climate Corps Fellows focused on climate justice within BIPOC communities will be placed with nonprofit organizations and public agencies serving Oregon. Our partners on this project include Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Climate Solutions, Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC), Earth Advantage, Forth, the Oregon Environmental Council, and Verde.
The Climate Corps-centered approach was chosen in part because of the success of the first Climate Corps Fellowship in Oregon with the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF), (now Imagine Black). This Fellow became an integral part of the PAALF team and helped develop connections between local agencies, launch new programs, identify and pursue funding opportunities, and provide support to other environmental justice groups. With the Oregon Climate Equity Project, we hope to continue this vital and timely work through partnerships with the environmental justice and BIPOC-focused organizations of the Project.
Our approach, collaborations, and new cohort of Fellows will provide concrete results of deepened skills and expertise in climate policy development, capacity building, and creation of a network to help advance BIPOC leadership in Oregon.
To read more about the mission of Climate Corps, please visit the Mission page of our website, or to learn more about program impact, please visit the Outcomes page of our website.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field