Solar Foundation awarded $2 million to fund solar apprenticeships for military veterans

solar foundation workforce

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) selected The Solar Foundation to receive a $2 million award to support its efforts in building an advanced and highly qualified solar workforce. The standout feature of this new program is its support of solar industry apprenticeships for hundreds of transitioning military veterans, preparing them for leadership roles in a rapidly growing industry. The program will also provide expert assistance to help the solar industry leverage workforce development resources and hire more workers from underserved communities.

The Solar Foundation was selected as a part of the Energy Department’s FY2018 SETO funding program, an effort to invest in new projects that will lower solar electricity costs and support a growing solar workforce. The Solar Foundation will work alongside other projects in the funding program to develop training programs that prepare the solar workforce for a more digital electric power system and enable veterans and transitioning military personnel to join the solar work-force.

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This new program will expand on The Solar Foundation’s current and previous efforts to help build a pipeline of qualified solar workers across the country, through initiatives such as the Solar Training Network, Solar Ready Vets, and the National Solar Jobs Census.

“We’re committed to building a solar workforce that can meet the urgent challenges of the 21st century,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “This new program will help veterans and other job seekers develop advanced technical skills and become America’s future solar leaders.”

Working with industry partners, the new program will create solar industry apprenticeships for hundreds of veterans departing the armed forces, and develop a scalable model to train even more in the future. This effort will take advantage of the transferable skills that make service members outstanding candidates for careers in solar.

The new effort will be led by The Solar Foundation with partnership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and Cypress Creek Renewables.

The new effort will expand upon The Solar Foundation’s previous Solar Ready Vets program, which trained hundreds of transitioning military personnel for careers in solar. And it will draw from the insights in The Solar Foundation’s solar jobs research such as the National Solar Jobs Census, which is now in the field with a solar industry survey about the current state of the solar workforce.

— Solar Builder magazine

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