Announcement: James Metoyer promoted to Workforce Development Training Manager
Recently Erik Cathcart, our Director or Marketing & Technology spoke to James about his promotion and new role.
Congratulations James on your promotion. Can you talk briefly about what your new role entails at Earth Advantage?
My new role will be focused on increasing the level of support for our workforce development training partners on delivering training, such as our Green Construction Workforce Training through which students can earn a Green Building Trainee credential after attending and passing a quiz. Another main priority is to grow our network of partners and engage with new entities across Oregon and beyond. Our goal is to inform students of the various roles, jobs, and opportunities in the construction field and set young professionals on a path to a career in the energy efficiency industry.
Why is workforce training so important at this period of time?
As the future of buildings in the Northwest will undoubtedly be more energy efficient and technologically advanced, they will require a larger workforce. It has always been important to get young professionals in the industry but there is a silver tsunami on the horizon with a lot of baby boomers retiring. Some estimates predict that about 92% will be replacement jobs as the current workforce ages out, and the Oregon Employment Department states that “in 2017, workers age 55 and older made up nearly a quarter of the construction and manufacturing workforce, a share that has increased by 15 percentage points in the last 25 years.” It is crucial for the industry as a whole to start training and cultivating diverse talent now so that there isn’t a large gap in trained and skilled professionals in the workforce.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I’m very excited to be working with students who have historically not been represented in the construction workforce and working with our partners to get more students and women from Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities into the workforce. A lot of the students are excited about getting started in the construction industry but have never heard that there is a whole side of the construction industry geared toward energy efficiency. New students are also looking to make a positive impact on climate change. There is a wide array of jobs on the energy efficiency side of the construction industry and I look forward to helping guide students on their path into successful careers in the industry.
Before coming to Portland, you were a native of Louisiana. What brought you back to Portland a second time?
I’m a proud North Louisiana Creole native with roots in the Cane River/ Natchitoches area. At the time I had one grandparent still alive at 104 years old and 4 nieces that were starting to get into their teenage years. After being in Portland for 8 years, I decided it was time to be with family and open up my own home performance business in Louisiana, Advanced Energy Inspections (AEI).
AEI was a successful home performance business that worked with the local electric utility on completing residential energy assessments and then working with homeowners to get them incentives from the utility for the home performance upgrades we made. Unfortunately when the administration changed most of the funding dried up for a lot of the energy efficiency work I was doing in North Louisiana.
During this downturn, I pivoted and worked as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Housing Inspector responding after Hurricane Harvey in Texas/Louisiana and Hurricane Irma in Florida. I kept in contact with colleagues at Earth Advantage and after the FEMA work halted, I heard that Portland was in the process of mandating that the Home Energy Score be listed for every home sold within the city limits of Portland.
This sounded like a great opportunity and I began discussions with colleagues to come back and open up my own business in Portland to work with EA as a subcontractor to deliver Quality Assurance Inspections on behalf of the City of Portland and the Department of Energy for the Home Energy Score program. Since then I’ve decided to come back and work for EA full time and further EA’s mission of advancing the adoption of sustainable building across multiple programs, especially the workforce development training programs.