Empowerment Through Education

By Tyi Johnson, GETS Graduate

I’m proud to be a part of the Rising Sun community. Here at Community Energy Services Corporation(CESC), we view Rising Sun as a trusted partner in the work we do to help our community become empowered to save energy.

As a graduate of Rising Sun’s Green Energy Training Services (GETS), a pre-apprenticeship job training program, I feel a strong connection to the organization. I completed the program in April 2012. I credit this experience for giving me the background that qualified me for my current role as Smart Lights Program Administrator at CESC.

GETS (1)

In many ways, I believe that my experience represents the potential impact GETS can have on its participants. I found work in the green sector after graduation. For a short while I worked for Rising Sun’s energy efficiency enterprise, Rising Sun Energy Services, where we were responsible for making homes more efficient. Following that experience, I continued to work with the GETS Case Manager who helped me secure a job at CESC.

I started in July 2014 as a Program Assistant. Nine months later I was promoted to the Program Administrator. CESC’s SmartLights Program helps small to medium-sized businesses become more energy efficient. Operating in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties, the program offers free start-to- finish technical assistance and instant rebates to help defray the cost of upgrading or repairing existing equipment.

I enjoy working for a nonprofit. I enjoy what we do and the fact that we are making a difference. We’re all about saving energy and money. And I’ve learned that even in California there are still people who need to be educated. I see education as a key part of what CESC does. Education equals empowerment.

During my first year at CESC I continued to stay in touch with Rising Sun. In March of 2015 I was asked to join the organization’s Board of Directors. I know that my role is important, and I personally feeI compelled to advocate for the adult program, which serves those who are in need of a second chance.


I was 34 when I enrolled in the GETS program. The ages of my cohort ranged from early-20s to mid-50s. GETS participants are people desirous of changing the course of their lives. They are people who work hard to overcome their barriers to employment. Staying the course in the GETS program isn’t easy. But its results are immeasurable.

To close, I learned two things through my GETS experience that I hold with me today. Hard work does payoff. I am an example of that. And persistence is key. Keep on pressing on, even when it seems like you won’t succeed, because you will.



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