Mayor Menino and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Unveil Groundbreaking Project Labor Agreement on $63 Million Energy Efficiency Project

Published Date: 
Thu, 05/19/2011

Ameresco Contributes $60,000 to Create Pre-Apprenticeship and Skill Development Program for Boston Housing Authority Residents

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino was joined by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator Bill McGonagle, Ameresco President and CEO George Sakellaris, and Boston Building Trades Council President Martin Walsh to unveil a groundbreaking project labor agreement for the $63 million energy efficiency project at BHA facilities across the city first announced in March 2010.

“In this economy we need agreements like this to keep construction going, get people trained and working,” Mayor Menino said. “I’m proud to be able to create good paying union jobs for Boston residents.”

The Project Labor Agreement (PLA) between Ameresco, the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District (MBBTC), and the BHA, is the first public housing PLA of its kind since President Obama signed an executive order encouraging the use of PLAs in connection with large-scale construction projects.

“Boston’s Project Labor Agreement will create hundreds of jobs for local union workers, public housing residents and small and minority owned businesses, which is exactly why the Obama Administration is actively supporting these agreements across the country as a key step to winning the future,” Secretary Donovan said.

In addition, the agreement creates a groundbreaking pre-apprenticeship program – funded in part by a $60,000 contribution from Ameresco and a $35,000 contribution from the Mayor’s Office of Jobs and Community Services – that will be open to BHA public housing and Section 8 residents, YouthBuild eligible participants, and very low-income Boston residents. Graduates who successfully complete the pre-apprenticeship training will be given direct entry slots into apprenticeship opportunities through the Building and Construction Trades Council. 

The first pre-apprenticeship training program classes will be available for up to 34 participants. The first class will begin training in September and a second will begin in the spring of 2012.

“The pre-apprenticeship program is an excellent opportunity for our residents to receive skills training,” said Bill McGonagle, BHA Administrator. “This partnership is a great way to further our mission of improving the lives of our low-income residents. We thank the leadership team at Ameresco for their willingness to participate in and contribute to this important effort.”

Ameresco, a Framingham headquartered energy services company that is the general contractor overseeing the energy efficiency work, has contributed $60,000 to support the pre-apprenticeship program. The Building and Construction Trades Council will provide staff, training, space for technical training and direct entry slots into their apprenticeship programs.

“Ameresco is proud to be part of this truly innovative agreement that will provide residents in Boston’s public housing with the opportunity to gain the skills needed for good paying jobs and a path to a secure financial future,” said George Sakellaris, President and CEO of Ameresco.  “I am pleased to continue our long-standing relationship and we are excited to be working with the Boston Housing Authority to reduce their energy usage and to help save the City of Boston more than $56 million in energy and water costs over a 20-year period.”

Other details of the PLA contract include requiring that Ameresco comply with Section 3 regulations, and a federal requirement that contract and job training opportunities and 30 percent of new jobs created are offered to qualified BHA residents, and low/very-low income residents living in the neighborhoods surrounding BHA developments. In addition to the training, it is expected that BHA residents will be hired as Resident Coordinators to assist with resident outreach and communication regarding the work occurring at their respective sites.

The BHA recently entered into an Energy Performance Contract with Ameresco to implement integrated water and energy conservation measures valued in excess of $63 million. The project will affect approximately 4,300 apartments in 13 federal developments throughout the City of Boston and is expected to save the taxpayers more than $56 million over a 20-year period. 

Upgrades will include replacing water closets, showerheads and faucet aerators, installing energy efficient lighting, converting electric heat to gas, upgrading or replacing old central heating plants, installing co-generation and a rooftop photovoltaic electric system, Energy Star rated fiberglass windows, high reflective “cool” roof membrane and healthy apartment improvements.  An extensive resident education, training, and employment program will complement and reinforce the program over the life of the project.

The following developments are included in the project:  Bromley Park and Heath Street in Jamaica Plain, Commonwealth and Washington Street in Brighton, Franklin Field and Pasciucco in Dorchester, Holgate and Whittier Street in Roxbury, Lenox Street in the South End/Lower Roxbury, Old Colony in South Boston, Roslyn Apartments in Roslindale, Torre Unidad in the South End, and the Charlestown development in Charlestown.

Prior to this contract, BHA participated in two earlier energy performance contracts that saved the Authority more than $17 million.  Those contracts allowed the BHA to fully replace the original 1938 heating system at the Mary Ellen McCormack development in South Boston as well as upgrade heating and water systems at BHA state-funded developments throughout the city.

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