Nonprofit wants to plant green jobs in Knoxville area

Joshua Outsey, Jessica Session, John Thomason, Jordan Linder and Isaac Dukes of Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development surround a donated apple tree. The nonprofit plans to plant an edible forest outside its location at Morningside Community Center.

Special to the Knoxville News Sentinel by Terry Shaw
“The problem is a lot of local companies have to find contractors outside Knoxville to do the work,” the 22-year-old said.
That’s one of the issues being addressed by the nonprofit Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development, where Davis works as program director.
“It’s our job to make it known and create jobs because there’s a demand for them,” said staffer Joshua Outsey, 26.
The pair cite home weatherization, green building construction, electrical work and maintenance on solar panels and wind farms as fast-growing fields, along with farm-to-fork food production.
With a staff of five and more than 70 volunteers, the three-year-old nonprofit is located at Morningside Community Center, 1617 Dandridge Ave.
It works with community members ages 16-28 in a variety of ways, including mentoring, classes and site trips. One program pays 17-to-21-year-olds $1,200 to participate in a 10-week program to earn a GED and explore job opportunities. It began in July and has 30 students participating.
Dukes said of 22 young people who went through a pre-apprentice program, 17 found jobs or are attending a trade school or college.
“It’s important to be able to see people your own age who are college graduates and making a difference,” said Jessica Session, 23, an Americorps member assigned to the program.