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ECA Core Program Updates

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Lorraine Horton, Director, Community Programs

Philadelphia Water Department recently awarded ECA the Tiered Assistance Program, (TAP) that allows low-income customers to pay a reduced bill based on the family’s income. We’re so glad that we will be able to bring this program to the families we serve through our 15 Neighborhood Energy Centers.

Also, we just completed the series of Home Weatherization Workshops that PGW makes possible, and this year we reached over 2,000 people. If you would like to learn more about TAP or sign up to host a PGW Workshop next fall, give us a call at (215) 609-1047. We’d like to give a shout out to Madeline (Maddie) Eiler, our Mission Year Intern, who gave so much of herself to ECA this year. Thank you, Maddie, for your great heart and super skills!

Cynthia Olidge, Director, Heater Hotline ECA is still the only organization in the city that has a hotline program to help low- and moderate- income people with heating issues. Our services are funded by the City of Philadelphia’s Basic Systems Repair Program and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Crisis Program. These agencies make it possible for us to repair or replace approximately 5,000 heaters each year. We always run out of money long before we run out of clients who need this help.

The 5 staff members in our call center receive over 2,000 calls per week in the coldest months of winter. They triage the calls, so we serve families with young children and frail elderly people first. Our 11 heater mechanics are also dedicated professionals. Some of them have been with us since 1995, and they are training the younger people coming in. If you or someone you know needs help with their heater, call ECA at (215) 609-1028 to find out if you are income- eligible for our services.

Ryan Rex, Director, Conservation Program We’re in great shape, here in Conservation. Enthusiasm comes first with our team. We’re closing our programs on time and on budget. Just last week, we closed our DOE contract to weatherize 105 houses early. Everybody was so excited, we all came together with high fives and hugs. Steve gave us the rest of the day off as a present, but nobody wanted to leave, so we just stayed together to celebrate. When we completed a PGW program in December, we had air sealed more houses than any month over the last five years.

We have a great, cohesive team, and we’re looking forward to serving more households, doing more for low-income families in Philadelphia in the next year. If you want to find out if you are income-eligible for a free home weatherization, give us a call at 215-398-0610.

Walt Yakabosky, Director, Knight Green Jobs Training Center Most important is to see how students struggle through the training, then when they get a job, they’re so excited and grateful to get employment. Their personality changes completely. It’s like, when they’re in the program, they’re unsure if they’re going to make it, even if they want it. Their attitude is, “This might be for someone else, but not me.” When they complete the program, it’s like instant maturity. The negative shell falls away, and they come into their own. Their self-esteem blossoms. After students graduate, they come and visit to tell us how they’re doing. Many grads have started their own businesses. They’re actually hiring some of the people who are graduating now.

One older student in our solar program had a BA in photojournalism, was out of work, and didn’t know what he was going to do. He got a job in North Carolina, and in less than a year, he became a supervisor.

ECA has an 87% job placement rate for our grads. There is a growing network of loyal employers who are always calling us asking for people who have the training and credentials they need. These include: AAA Environmental Restorations, Solar States, Sun Cycle, and Vivint Solar.

The secret sauce to our success is our strategic partnerships: Johnson Controls, Inc., JEVS, OIC, ASPIRA, the School District of Philadelphia, and YouthBuild. We are all on the same page, wanting to serve the same mission of creating pathways to career success in the clean energy economy for people whose diversity reflects the city we serve. This win-win-win attitude sends out a strong message of trust. This is a foundation we can build on for many years to come. If you are interested in our training programs, please visit our website at to check out our current offerings. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (215) 609-1457.


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