PowerCorpsBOS Building Operations Pilot Kickoff

Written by Yve Torrie, Director of CLimate, Energy, and resilience


A Better City is excited to be partnering with PowerCorps Boston and Roxbury Community College’s Center for Smart Building Technology on a new building operations pilot within the PowerCorps Boston program. A kick-off event for the building operations tract was held at Roxbury Community College (RCC) on February 13th  and was attended by building operator program trainees and trainers, building partners who will provide in-service learning opportunities within large buildings, and City of Boston, Roxbury Community College and A Better City leadership.

PowerCorps Boston is a green jobs program that provides young adults from marginalized communities who are unemployed, underemployed, not in college or a career track, with career readiness training. It launched in July 2022 with a 6-month urban forestry tract. It is modeled after the Philadelphia PowerCorps PHL program. The January-June 2023 program included a building operations pilot.

A Better City’s involvement stemmed from our business and institutional members who, over 6 years ago, alerted us to the need for a new or re-trained workforce that could keep increasingly smart, high-performance, and high-tech buildings operating at peak efficiency. They saw this as the next “low hanging fruit in energy efficiency”. We then worked with RCC, an ABC member, as well as other partners and stakeholders in the development of the Center for Smart Building Technology at RCC. In 2019, we also worked with about 35 staff from A Better City member buildings to take a Building Operator Certification training funded by the utilities.

Nearly 3 years ago, as part of A Better City’s Equity in the Built Environment workplan, we committed to prioritizing equitable workforce development within our climate work. Chief White Hammond, who knew of our previous work and commitment, reached out to us at the end of 2021 to ask if we would work with a soon to be developed, PowerCorps Boston program, and  develop a building operations curriculum for large buildings. We have worked with the PowerCorps Boston and RCC’s Center for Smart Building Technology teams to develop this program throughout 2022.  

A Better City is proud that member buildings have stepped up to work with us on this program. Trainees will be working 2 days a week in large buildings, where they will get hands-on training, and will transition into employment at the end of the training. Nine trainees will be in A Better City member buildings including Beacon Capital Partners and their building operator partner, NEWMARK, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, BXP, and their building operator partner, C&W Services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. JLL, and MassGeneral Hospital.

We will be monitoring the pilot closely so the next building operations cohort, to begin in July 2023, will build on lessons learned. Please reach out to Yve Torrie if you are interested in hosting trainees in your buildings starting in July 2023!

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