BY KELLY HARTOG
On June 15 and 16, 82 newly-certified green janitors graduated from the Green Janitors Program through the U.S. Green Building Council Los Angeles at ceremonies held at Watt Plaza and Century Plaza Towers.
The program was established in 2015 and was designed and piloted as a collaborative effort among Building Skills Partnership(BSP), the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles (BOMA-GLA), industry experts, building owners and Service
Employees International Union (SEIU)-United Service Workers West.
In just over a year since the program’s inception, over 300 janitors have been trained and certified. The training doesn’t just focus on what green cleaning is, but also why it’s important to save energy.
Attendees undertake a 30-hour curriculum in either Spanish or English, culminating in examinations and a formal graduation. The program is designed to empower janitors by giving them a seat and voice at the management table, provides a real certification that also ups their value in their field, offers them an education – something many have never received – and helps them help building owners/managers save energy and money.
In addition, once the janitors receive their certification, they receive an $125 payment for completion of the course.
At the Century City graduations, USGBC-LA Executive Director Dominique Hargreaves said, “Los Angeles has set a new standard for green cleaning and workforce development that is now being offered statewide. Our program will reach thousands of workers, building their skills, and saving energy and water along the way.”
Michael Smith, janitorial manager at Century Park, which includes the Century Plaza Towers congratulated the graduates, saying, “As part of our ongoing efforts as a LEED certified property, we feel this training plays a vital role in our staff understanding and knowing the importance of green cleaning. It also plays an important role in providing our tenants with information and knowledge and how they can also contribute to a more comfortable and environmentally friendly work place.”
Aida Cardenas Barragan, executive director of Building Skills Partnership summed up the value of the program by noting, “Janitors are the eyes and ears of what happens in a building. The work they do every night impacts a building’s ability to save energy, conserve water, divert waste and improve indoor air quality… By investing in this primary immigrant workforce we are integrating them in the workplace community and creating confidence and skill for career pathways.”