Alumni of the Month: Bernard Smith

Artboard 1 Announcements Featured Alumni Profiles
icon-clock June 26, 2024

“GCF provided me with the opportunities and the soft skills required to communicate what I’ve carried from job to job. 10 years later and I’m in a career that not only utilizes everything I’ve learned with GCF, but is giving back to them in a major way.”

Bernard Smith (he/him)

Graduated: 2013, Cohort 6

From: Linden Houses, Brooklyn

Current Position: Distribution Splicer in-training, Con Edison

Con Edison operates one of the world’s largest energy delivery systems. Founded in 1823 as the New York Gas Light company, their electric, gas, and steam service now provides energy for the 10 million people who live in New York City and Westchester County.


Tell us about your current role and daily responsibilities:

“I receive my job briefing from my supervisor, then my partner and I grab the materials needed for the job. We head out to the location, do our visual inspections, and go over our safety plan. Once everything is ready, we set up on the whole and I proceed to do the work which could be anything from organizing live electric cables to reconnecting large de-energized cables to a transformer.”


Describe your career pathway. How has your GCF experience helped you?

I’ve been employed by many Con Edison contractors, thanks to GCF, which ultimately led me to this career I have now. GCF was my first real employer. Prior to GCF, I tried college, I did freelance work, and I was raising my son. Going from no experience in the workforce to becoming an outreach specialist and site supervisor within 6 months provided me with a different level of confidence to add to my experiences. Every interview I’ve done, GCF was a highlighted topic because it displayed so much variety and strong points that most employers wanted to learn about the program.”


Con Edison Grant and the Growing Clean Energy Industry:

Bernard was recently featured by Pix11 and Spectrum News NY1 highlighting his career path with GCF and Con Edison for the announcement of Con Edison’s Clean Energy and Technology Careers grant awards with GCF as a grantee. In the interviews, Bernard underscores the importance of initiatives and programs like GCF supporting green workforce development, empowering underrepresented communities and providing pathways to stable, well-paying careers in the clean energy sector. Bernard shared, “Being interviewed about my accomplishments and retracing my workforce roots was a highlight of my year and my career this far.” Bernard embodies a commitment to a sustainable future and his accomplishments are an inspiration to us all!



What advice do you have for current Corps Members and other Alumni?

“Take the opportunity to speak with your fellow members and the GCF staff. Everyone in GCF is a lifeline and wants you to be the best YOU that you can be!”


Achievements at GCF:

“As a Corps Member, I received the Sustainability Award at the end of my term. I was selected to become a site supervisor on a special project. As a Supervisor, me and my team were selected to go to a ConEd contractor as a team (with me remaining in title) to launch their new initiative.”


What’s your favorite GCF memory?

“My favorite memory has to be working as a site supervisor on the Rockaway peninsula for the end of my GCF term. I learned so much in those few months and it was a great experience seeing so many people volunteering their time to help rebuild homes for those in need.”



“Green City Force was a changing point in my life. It became an opportunity to grow as a person in every area possible. I feel like joining the Corps was the best decision I made; to at least try something new and see where it can take me. Before GCF, I was out of high school and engaging in my various crafts. Not really having a source of income outside of family, I felt limited in life. If GCF has taught me anything, it taught me that communication is key to advancing in life. To move forward, you have to be able to speak with others appropriately and listen to others just as well. Networking, canvassing, outreaching, and expanding are all a part of communication. I will go back to college within the next year, regardless of whether I am working or not. I want to give thanks to all of the GCF staff for their thorough support throughout the process. Without them, I don’t think I would’ve made it through the program efficiently. Thanks to all my fellow Corps Members for the support.”



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