Outreach and Engagement Toolkit for Weatherization Workforce Development

Employers
Outreach
A Female Engineer Working With Insulation
A Female Engineer Working With Insulation
This toolkit provides resources and templates that can be used for local outreach and recruitment.

Recruiting great candidates for open positions in your organization, and raising awareness of weatherization careers, can be a challenge on top of your everyday work.

Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch!

This Outreach and Engagement Toolkit includes a variety of pre-made and customizable materials you can use as part of your workforce development activities to fill your open positions and build a pipeline of prospective home energy professionals who can support your future staffing needs.

Before exploring these particular resources, you may find it helpful to read the Get Started with Green Workforce Connect page, to better understand how this website can support your recruitment and workforce development activities, as well as this overview of how you can use this outreach toolkit.

About This Toolkit

A key purpose of the Green Workforce Connect website is to support weatherization employers and contractors in attracting job candidates, including candidates from communities that have historically been underrepresented in this field (including women; young people; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI); formerly incarcerated individuals; and other groups). 

This Outreach and Engagement Toolkit is a key part of that effort.

The materials in the Outreach and Engagement Toolkit are designed to support a variety of different types of outreach activities including through digital, print, and broadcast media along with community engagement. Each of these types of outreach is discussed in greater detail below. 

The Toolkit materials include general information about weatherization careers, as well as materials tailored to support outreach to specific audiences, including women, people of color, and youth.

How the Toolkit Was Developed

This Outreach and Engagement Toolkit is the product of a collaborative process to gather extensive input and validation from weatherization stakeholders. More than 600 stakeholders across the Weatherization Assistance Program network have helped inform the project design and the development of associated collateral, templates, and messaging. 

Listening sessions, focus groups, and project partner and Advisory Group meetings were used to gather feedback related to weatherization workforce development needs. These activities included:

  • Two in-person focus groups, one each in Wisconsin and Oklahoma;
  • Three virtual listening sessions, including two focused on workforce development needs and one focused on contractor needs;
  • Three conference session breakout group sessions at conferences of the National Community Action Partnership (NCAP) and the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), with interactive conversations with participants.
  • Two online input questionnaires;
  • Project partner input, through in monthly project team meetings, weekly office hours, working group meetings, and one-on-one meetings; and
  • Advisory Group input, through bi-weekly meetings to help develop, review, and validate outreach messaging and recruitment collateral and resources. 
    • The Advisory Group is comprised of professionals familiar with weatherization and experienced in recruitment, workforce development, outreach, weatherization, and contract work. A majority of the advisory group members also identify with one or more of the underrepresented groups noted above, bringing first-hand knowledge and perspectives.

These stakeholders provided critical input such as: 

  • How people currently learn about weatherization jobs, and successful strategies for filling job openings; 
  • Strategies to reach underrepresented groups;
  • Effective messaging to raise awareness about weatherization careers, and key details candidates should know about working in the field. 
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Recruitment Insights from Key Stakeholders

Participants in listening sessions, partners, and members of the Advisory Group highlighted the following elements of weatherization careers as particularly important to highlight for successful recruitment efforts: 

  • The mission and impact of weatherization jobs (helping people in your community, environmental benefits, etc.), 
  • Career progression and advancement opportunities, 
  • Employment benefits and incentives such as work-life balance, consistent hours, and on-the-job training. 

 

These stakeholders also emphasized the importance of using accessible language that is familiar to people in a target audience, and of cultural representation—showing that people from a particular community are included in these careers (representative photos, testimonials, etc.). The materials in the Toolkit reflect these recommendations.

Outreach & Recruitment Channels

Listening session and advisory group input revealed that job seekers learn about weatherization  jobs through a combination of print media, digital media, broadcast media, and word of mouth. 

We encourage leveraging a combination of the following outlets to support outreach to new recruits in your region. Using a diversity of outreach strategies can help ensure you reach different audiences, depending on how they typically consume information. For example, some individuals lack consistent access to the internet but might be effectively reached by radio or print materials. 

All of the recruitment materials below can be downloaded and customized for your organization and local area. 

Additional topics and resources are currently under development and will be added as they are assembled. Have a suggestion? Let us know!

Digital Media

Digital media refers to any form of media that uses electronic devices for distribution. It includes websites, social media, videos, software (apps), online advertising, and more. 

Current digital media resources in the Toolkit include:

Print Media

Print media refers to physical, printed publications such as newspapers, magazines, and direct mail. These can also be great materials to bring to in-person events, like job fairs.

Current print media resources in the Toolkit include:

Broadcast Media

Broadcast media includes a variety of different platforms used for mass communication, including radio and television.

Current broadcast media resources in the Toolkit include:

A man wearing headphones sits at a desk, using a laptop and microphone for work.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth refers to ways that individuals learn about something through interactions with family, friends, or others in their community. Examples could include referral or incentive programs for current weatherization staff who share job openings with their networks, business card-sized handouts that your team or partners can share with relevant contacts, as well as things like house signs or door hangers that make it easy for neighbors and community members to learn about your program. 

The Toolkit does not yet include word of mouth materials but related resources are under development and will be added in the coming months. 

Community Engagement

Community engagement is the process of connecting with and engaging members of the community to raise awareness of workforce development programs and services, and to encourage them to participate. 

Community outreach and recruitment is an important part of any workforce development program, as it helps to ensure that programs meet the needs of the community and are representative of the population they are serving. 

These community-based organizations are some of the very groups that train and grow the workforce pipeline, making them essential partners for successfully hiring local talent. Their services form the building blocks of local workforce solutions, from local job training and work-readiness supports, to messaging and outreach to support recruitment efforts. 

Building mutually-beneficial partnerships takes time and effort, but pays off by better connecting you to work-ready weatherization professionals. 

We encourage dedicated outreach to community-based organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs, Service Year Alliance, Year Up, and any other reputable training and education programs in your region. 

To support these efforts, the Green Workforce Connect team has developed template slides you can use when conducting outreach presentations to jobseekers, as well as training providers and other community-based organizations.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility

Another critical consideration for effective outreach and recruitment is to ensure that your materials and communications are inclusive and resonate with different audiences. 

There are great potential candidates from all different communities and backgrounds; make sure you don’t unintentionally limit your pool of applicants with materials that feel inaccessible, intimidating, or unfriendly to certain audiences! 

Some of the best practices for ensuring your outreach supports Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) include: 

  • Include materials in multiple languages, depending on the other languages commonly spoken in your area. 
  • Ensure that images and videos include people of different backgrounds (race, age, gender, etc.), so that potential candidates can “see themselves” in these jobs, and know they are welcome.
  • Evaluate the language of your job postings and other materials to ensure that it is inclusive. Some considerations for making your language inclusive include: 
    • Avoid gendered language, which may directly or indirectly indicate to certain candidates that they are not welcome. This includes not referring to the successful candidate as “he” or “she,” as well as less obvious things, like describing job requirements in language commonly associated with the characteristics of a certain gender (such as ninja, rock star, competitive, nurturing, collaborative, fearless). This kind of language can make people feel unwelcome or hesitant to apply. Instead, focus on the skills and traits that are actually necessary for the job. You may also want to get input on the job description from people of different demographics to vet whether your language is welcoming or if there are things you may want to change. 
    • Avoid using terms that imply you are looking for someone from a particular background or community, such as saying “native speaker” to describe a language requirement, when what you are actually looking for is fluency. 
    • Avoid language, or policies, that could exclude members of certain religious groups, such as prohibiting head coverings or facial hair.
    • Be mindful of how easy your job posting is to read. Avoid complicated language or advanced reading levels that could exclude people without higher levels of education, when it is not required for a job. Similarly, avoid using acronyms or industry jargon that may not make sense to people new to the industry.  

 

The template materials included in this Toolkit follow these recommendations; we encourage you to keep them in mind as you develop your own materials or customize those provided.