We are excited to announce our career training program for an aspiring green entrepreneur located in the East Palo Alto area and surrounding communities, in partnership with  Acterra and Elemental Excelerator. The selected candidate(s) will train with us and Acterra and community partners to learn how to provide free, comprehensive home efficiency services to 100 to 150 low- and moderate-income families in East Palo Alto and neighboring communities from July-December 2018. Upon successful completion of the project at the end of the year, the selected candidate(s) will be eligible to apply for a free Pono Home franchise and additional training with Pono Home staff so they can start a green business with no up-front costs and continue to provide services in the area with an expanded scope of work. Entrepreneurs are welcome to apply alone or with a partner.

This career training program provides a supportive pathway for an entrepreneur to earn a living greening homes in their community, own their own green business, and pioneer the expansion of an innovative business from Hawaii into California. This is a paid, flexible position, and the selected candidate(s) will be paid for all hours worked during the training period.

Position Overview

 Desired Qualifications

 To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The ability to lift up to 50 pounds regularly and without assistance, as well as the ability to use power and other tools safely and reach tight spaces that may require climbing a ladder/stepstool and getting down on hands and knees are critical requirements of this position. In addition, candidate must be able to:

  • Communicate the process, tasks, and outcomes effectively with customers, preferably in fluent English and Spanish
  • Attend meetings as appropriate and meet regularly with supervisors and project partners to exchange pertinent information and to receive supervision
  • Use power and other tools to perform hardware installations on plumbing fixtures and light bulb replacements
  • Interact appropriately with any and all customers, family members, care providers of residents, and project partners
  • Educate clients one-on-one in a home setting
  • Accurately use and derive readings from various cleantech auditing devices
  • Maneuver tight and sometimes damp spaces with acuity sufficient to avoid accidents
  • Assist with inventory and general maintenance of supplies, facilities and equipment
  • Interact with clients in a confidential, and responsible manner maintaining a high level of ethical conduct
  • Lack debilitating allergic reaction to common household allergens, including but not limited to pet dander, dust mites, and other airborne allergens
  • Lack debilitating chemical sensitivity to chemical gases frequently found in homes
  • Put forth a welcoming personality capable of interacting with new potential customers in a way that makes people feel comfortable
  • Maintain detailed customer records and follow up with potential customers
  • Represent the company at public events and at all times put forth a professional appearance
  • Handle payment processing
  • Scheduling of customer visits and upkeep of customer database
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Desired Qualifications/Requirements

  • High School diploma or equivalent plus two years of relevant paid or voluntary experience OR Associate degree required
  • Oral and written communication skills. Fluency in Spanish is preferred but not required
  • Knowledge in educating clients in daily living skills
  • Observation and decision-making skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and without ongoing supervision, including scheduling, and especially timeliness
  • Potential willingness to use personal transportation in work capacity, with reimbursement paid for miles driven
  • Knowledge of sustainability issues or related work experience would be beneficial
  • Experience managing a project or overseeing employees

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

  • Driver’s license, including clean driving record

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Lifts and carries up to 50 pounds
  • Safely loads and unloads cargo from work vehicle
  • Climbs stairs and/or ladder and safely work on a ladder for brief periods
  • Gets down on hands and knees
  • Working hours rotate quickly

Conditions of Award

  • Satisfactory reference and background investigation checks
  • Satisfactory completion of training and all required paperwork
  • Attendance at all mandatory staff development & training


This position is flexible, and may be part-time or full-time. Compensation is competitive and based on experience. Commissions are available to earn for each item installed in a home.


Training for the selected candidate(s) will be in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, California. Applicants should live in or nearby East Palo Alto, or live within daily commuting distance. Training is tentatively scheduled for July 25-27, and candidates should be available these dates.

How to Apply

Pono Home and Acterra will hold an info session on July 16 in Palo Alto for interested applicants to learn more about the opportunity. Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to info@ponohome.com. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. PT on Monday, July 16. For more information on the franchise application process at the end of the project, please visit ponohome.com/justinnovation to download the Franchise Application form. ­ 

Project Partners

About Acterra

Acterra is a San Francisco Bay Area 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Palo Alto that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. Acterra focuses on what you can do locally to address current environmental problems. In the face of daunting environmental challenges, Acterra’s science-based approach instills hope while building community. Acterra’s staff provides environmental education in the areas of energy and climate change, corporate sustainability, and advocacy to build an informed and empowered citizenry. Acterra’s programs engage people and companies in the Bay Area, with a focus on Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

About Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, they find 15-20 companies that best fit their mission and fund each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, transportation, water, agriculture, and beyond. To date, Elemental Excelerator has awarded over $22 million to 63 companies.

Elemental Excelerator is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in collaboration with Emerson Collective’s Elemental platform, which is focused on balancing the needs of humanity and nature by supporting scalable, equitable, and innovative solutions. For more information, please visit elementalexcelerator.com.