Press Release

Avantus Partners with UNITE-LA to Launch the Avantus Cleantech Career Academy in Los Angeles

Dec 19, 2022

First-of-its-kind academy aims to bring youth from under-resourced communities into Los Angeles’ fight against climate change

LOS ANGELES, California — December 19, 2022: Today, Avantus (formerly 8minute), a leader in the clean energy transition, announced the launch of the Avantus Cleantech Career Academy (Avantus Academy) in partnership with UNITE-LA, a well-respected advocate and business education intermediary for public education and workforce development systems in Los Angeles. Aligned with the vision set out by California’s latest climate action plan, the Avantus Academy will create training and education opportunities for young Angelenos from historically under-resourced communities to succeed in the state’s clean energy future.

“At Avantus, we know that true innovation comes from having diverse perspectives – it’s one of our founding principles. With the Avantus Academy, we aim to help close a critical gap in the school to workforce pipeline, bringing in more diverse talent to grow our industry and build a stronger Los Angeles. We share this vision with UNITE-LA, and welcome others to collaborate with us on this exciting new initiative,” said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, Founder and CEO of Avantus.

“Education is a transformative tool that can uplift individuals and help us win in the fight against climate change. For too long, access to programs like this has been mostly limited to those at large, well-funded universities and elite institutions. The Avantus Academy is taking a different approach by partnering with community colleges, high schools and local non-profits right here in Los Angeles. We want as many people as possible to join us on this journey to a brighter future,” added Dr. Buttgenbach.

Los Angeles is a driving force in our nation’s clean energy transition and will continue to grow rapidly with serious investments from the private sector as well as from every level of government. It’s projected that the industry will create 4 million new jobs, which will pay 30% above California’s median wage on average.


“UNITE-LA is excited to partner with Avantus to provide clean technology career awareness, preparation and training to high school and community college students from historically marginalized communities. The Avantus Academy directly aligns with UNITE-LA’s career pathways work focused on inclusive engagement in our region’s high-growth, high-wage industries,” said Alysia Bell, President, UNITE-LA. “The cleantech sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, and California alone is set to add millions of jobs over the next two decades. If the opportunities of this industry are to be distributed equitably, we have to invest in building a diverse talent pipeline now.”

The Avantus Academy is currently enrolling young people aged 16 to 24 years old that live in Los Angeles County. The program includes:

  • 12 weeks of paid work-based learning opportunities, including guest speakers, field trips and industry-relevant projects
  • 8+ weeks of paid work experience with an employer partner
  • $16 per hour for all learning and work experience time, funded in part thanks to a partnership with the County of Los Angeles
  • Scholarships to support enrollment in certificate or degree programs aligned with the cleantech sector workforce needs, upon completion of the Avantus Academy and internship

“Our community colleges continue to develop students who are critical thinkers, analyzers and problem solvers – attributes cleantech employers are searching for. The Avantus Cleantech Career Academy opens doors for these students, who might otherwise be overlooked merely because they come from communities systemically underserved,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). “This program shows interested students numerous career paths and prepares them for jobs in this high-demand industry.”

Avantus and UNITE-LA are actively seeking additional partners to jointly design and execute the Avantus Academy. Committed partners will support curriculum development, provide extensive training and mentorship opportunities, and facilitate career exploration and internship and job placements to increase students’ exposure and access to careers within the Los Angeles cleantech industry.

For more information, including how to apply or refer someone to the Avantus Academy’s flagship cohort starting this Spring, please visit www.avantusacademy.org.