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Published on March 13th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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Solar Training Programs for Vets (Nice.)



Here’s another feel-good, social-solar partnership that you have to love — cleantech and solar training programs for vets. SolarTech, whose goal is to eliminate “the technical and market barriers that hinder the widespread adoption of solar energy for residential and commercial systems,” has partnered with Nova Workforce Development and the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District to train veterans for cleantech jobs that companies need more people in.

Additionally, once “best practices” in this arena are identified, SolarTech and team intend to spread this program, the SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC), to hundreds of regions. For now, they have a $4 million grant from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to get SWIC off the ground.

The program involves a “free-of-charge program for the HR sector,” down from the typical $10,000-15,000 cost of such a training program. And a typical hiring process that takes 45 to 70 days is cut down to 30.

solar jobs

Matching Job-Seekers with Companies’ True Needs

We’ve written about the wind technician boom and solar installer boom here on CleanTechnica. However, rapid solar power and wind power growth requires a variety of specialized workers, not just installers and turbine technicians. SolarTech and Nova Workforce Development’s program closes the gap, helping to make sure that job seekers don’t waste their time getting trained for a job that has an oversupply of applicants, and that solar companies can find people to do the variety of jobs they need.

“It’s a way to better match employees to employers,” according to SolarTech’s DavidMcFeely.

“The industry doesn’t just need more people, but better matches,” SolarTech’s Executive Director, Doug Payne, said.

Here’s more from Greentech Media:

Pre-qualified workers emerge from the program with the precise skills needed by the employers — whether it be solar sales or energy efficiency sales or installation, project management, or software engineering. These skills are still in high demand despite the current national employment situation, according to Payne. The Collaborative has expanded its reach to cover solar as well as energy efficiency, vehicle-to-grid, and the built environment.

Laura Caccia of Nova said, “We can now understand what the industry needs, how we can get people into the workforce and make them employable for a real job, today.” Caccia added, “We’ve trained 246 people within this program — about 70 percent of the 50 percent who have completed the program have found jobs.”

Some of the companies graduates of the program have been hired by include: SolarCity, Sol Focus, SunWize, SunEdison, Real Goods Solar, and Siemens.

Image: Solar engineer courtesy shutterstock

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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