The Changemaker blog series celebrates MCE’s 10-year anniversary by recognizing the extraordinary people who support us and further our mission.

Jonathan Brito is an instructor with RichmondBUILD, a Richmond-based academy focused on developing the skills necessary for people to find successful careers in construction and green-collar jobs. In 2017, Mr. Brito worked on the construction of MCE Solar One, a 10.5 MW solar farm located on a brownfield site in Richmond, CA. MCE is delighted to recognize Jonathan Brito as an MCE Changemaker for his dedication to bettering his community by supporting local workforce development and renewable energy initiatives.

What work do you do with RichmondBUILD?

I am a Richmond resident. I’ve lived here for quite some time now. Right now, I’m interning for RichmondBUILD as an instructor but I play a lot of different roles. I help the guys out with math and paperwork and in the warehouse. I’ll even help out as a janitor or by doing some gardening.

What is RichmondBUILD’s mission?

RichmondBUILD started off as an anti-violence program, and we evolved into what is now a 12-week pre-apprenticeship program. We help participants gain entry into union apprenticeships, and we also try to help them find careers in the green energy business. We’ve helped a lot of our people here to find not only jobs, but careers. The goal at RichmondBUILD is to bring the wealth back into our communities, and to find out how we can help each other sustain the benefits and grow from there.

Who does RichmondBUILD serve?

RichmondBUILD is important because a lot of the people that we serve are underprivileged or formerly incarcerated, and a lot don’t have degrees or college backgrounds. A lot of the people we serve are from the community and are people of color—these are definitely the people who are more underserved. We come from all different backgrounds and all walks of life.

Why is MCE Solar One important to your community?

As soon as I found out MCE was going to build a solar farm in Richmond, I called everyone I knew asking how I could get [hired] on the project. I’m trying to make my community a better place, and what better way than to actually build a solar farm in my backyard? I thought it was amazing. I’m a firm believer in clean energy, and I think more opportunities like this need to be created. What MCE did with Solar One was amazing. We just need more projects like this in our community.

Did working on MCE Solar One have an impact on you?

Now that I’m working for RichmondBUILD and giving back to my community, I’m also going back to college. Working on MCE Solar One and working for RichmondBUILD has definitely changed my life. I didn’t think I would be here, that’s for sure. It’s made a difference in my life, and I hope that I can be that light for others.

We celebrate Jonathan Brito for bringing his light to his community as an MCE Changemaker. Since conducting this interview, Jonathan entered Contra Costa College to work toward his general education degree. Jonathan hopes to continue his studies to become a teacher in the future.

Learn more about some of the programs Mr. Brito has been a part of in Richmond, CA:

How useful was this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this article was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve?