Green Careers Training Project: Sary's Story


The Green Careers Training Project provided low-income individuals, unemployed people of color, homeless, veterans, and ex-offenders with valuable training and resources to help secure living wage jobs in emerging green industries. It was a $4 million collaboration between Worksystems and 19 community partners.


Worksystems and its partners worked together to train over 400 men and women—300 of which were quickly placed in a well-paying job. The project accelerated their careers and drove economic growth in the community by improving the quality of our workforce and infusing the local economy with $7.5 million in new wages.


Age: 35
Family: One child
Employer: SolarCity
Position: Assistant Site Auditor
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Partner Organization: Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) has provided educational services, cultural arts programming, and direct support for over 30 years to reduce poverty to the Portland metropolitan area’s American Indian and Alaska Native community. They offer a diverse array of programs to serve this community and meet the needs of everyone—from youth to elders.

Sary’s Story

Life Before Green Careers For Sary Dobhran, life took an unexpected turn of events when she found herself suddenly widowed while living in a foreign country, pregnant with her first child. Fluent in four languages and armed with a college degree, Sary returned to the United States confident she would be able to find work in spite of the bad economy. After nine months of searching, that didn’t happen. She underestimated the high volume of people applying for fewer and fewer job openings. Trying to survive on $400/month while sharing a single-room with her toddler was not the life she envisioned. Sary knew she had to reinvent herself.

The Turning Point Sary had always enjoyed working with her hands and construction appealed to her. So she went to the Oregon Tradeswomen for help getting started. When Sary learned about the Green Careers Training Project through a connection with NAYA, she couldn’t have been more excited. Working shoulder to shoulder with NAYA and other partners, Worksystems coordinated Green Careers to help people like Sary get the training and support to get ahead while also helping green businesses access a skilled workforce. The opportunity to combine Sary’s environmental studies degree with emerging job opportunities in construction was a match made in heaven.

The Result Through Green Careers, Sary learned about environmentally friendly building materials, green construction practices, HVAC technology and ways to make homes more energy efficient. Thanks to Green Careers, Sary was an ideal candidate for SolarCity who was looking to hire qualified people to keep pace with their growing business. Today, Sary is an assistant site auditor. She spends her days conducting energy audits for homeowners who want to save money on their utility bills and reduce their energy consumption. She loves interacting with people and seeing their surprised looks as she pulls on her hazmat suit to crawl under houses and inside attics. Above all, she loves earning a living wage with benefits that gives her and her son a better life.