Building A Better and Brighter Tomorrow

Deborah Scott is being recognized as a Champion of Change for her innovative energy priorities and sustainable living practices making a greener community a possibility in any American city or town.


When the national Emerald Cities Collaborative was launched to advance energy efficiency and sustainable development goals aimed at improving job quality, job access, and social equity, I agreed to convene a regional table, Emerald Cities Atlanta. The initial meeting of the local collaborative attracted more than 40 organizations representing a wide range of community interests including labor, business, educational, environmental, and non-profit community-based groups with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was one of the first officials to sign on to the program. Emerald Cities Atlanta is working to develop green strategies based on retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, transit oriented development, smarter growth and a commitment to civic engagement. We believe strong partnerships are the key to building a sustainable economy with equity for all people in the southeast.

With the support of a diverse partnership table including the national Emerald Cities Collaborative, the City of Atlanta, Trade-UP, Stand-UP, the AFL-CIO, Atlanta/North Georgia Building Trades Council, Enterprise Foundation, Atlanta Technical College, Youth Build USA, the Urban League and others, we are building a regional workforce pipeline that synchronizes the training efforts of educational and community groups has been developed. The pipeline helps match job demand with skill development, rebalancing labor markets around green objectives. Meanwhile, Atlanta also embraced the national Better Buildings Challenge aimed at creating jobs through large-scale energy retrofits in the commercial sector. Targeting 400 square blocks of downtown the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge has in little more than a year signed up more than 30 million square feet of space for the program. Emerald Cities Atlanta is a key partner in this effort, demonstrating that the unified efforts of community, labor, business, and government can transform communities to achieve sustainable outcomes.

In a region that can only be transformed and sustained through community, labor, civic and business partnerships, it has been rewarding to bring together a broad coalition of committed partners that are working together to build a new framework for regional prosperity and job creation through sustainable and equitable economic growth. It has been exciting to be a part of a sustainable regional thought leaders table that is increasing awareness around sustainable policies and an economy built around green principles, while helping to solve the challenges of attracting new investment and job creation. I expect sustainable practices to contribute significantly to our national economic recovery.  I expect Atlanta to be a leader in that effort, and I remain committed to making green solutions the cornerstone of my work in community economic development.  Our goal is to revive and grow healthy communities while preparing a 21st century workforce that are trained and prepared to green our cities.

Deborah Scott, Executive Director of STAND-UP, a “Think and Act Tank for Working Communities,” and founder of TRADE-UP, a model prep-apprenticeship and workforce development program, is a leading advocate for energy conservation, green development, and the creation of a 21st century American workforce.

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