Climate Corps and Boston: entrepreneurial design for social impact

Through this workshop, students will partner with PowerCorpsBOS, a startup “climate corps” within Boston city government, working closely with its dynamic Executive Director and a group of young adult members of the corps. PowerCorpBOS was launched in summer 2022 as part of Boston’s Green New Deal. PowerCorpsBOS is a green jobs program that provides young adults with training, career readiness support, and connections to employers in the green industry. An “earn and learn” program, PowerCorpsBOS pays members to participate in hands-on training that prepares them for living-wage careers. How can PowerCorpsBOS chart a path to scale for effective career paths and projects, keeping the hopes and desires of the young adults that the program serves at the center? The workshop will take place in Boston, with site visits to PowerCorps Boston’s headquarters and other locations as needed around Boston, depending on PowerCorps’ spring project sites.

The workshop is part of a multi-year, interdepartmental research project around “Building a successful Civilian Climate Corps” involving SA+P, the Urban Risk Lab and DesignX. The workshop builds on the student work from the joint studio and practicum offered last spring, “Climate Corps and East Boston”, co-taught by Miho Mazereeuw, Mary Anne Ocampo and Lisbeth Shepherd, and research from the summer and fall of this year by students as part of the CCC project. It will draw on the DesignX curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to engage with topics of entrepreneurial design for social impact. It is imagined in dialogue with the DUSP Site planning practicum focused on East Boston co-taught by Mary Anne Ocampo and Eran Ben-Joseph, and the Architecture practicum co-taught by Nicholas de Monchaux and Carlos Sandoval, partnering with Green City Force in New York City.

Students will learn from engagement with the partner organization in and out of the classroom, and from working with the instructor, a serial social entrepreneur, in a hybrid professional setting. The workshop will explore:
Deep listening to identify problems, solutions and strategies
Designing for multiple outcomes
Issues of scale.

Students will develop components of a blueprint for scale for PowerCorpsBOS, to be presented to the partner as a culmination of the workshop.