DOL’s YouthBuild helps educate young trainees install solar

The Department of Labor’s investment in green jobs, some $190 million in state energy sector partnerships and training, trains workers for skills in clean energy industries like energy efficiency and renewable energy.  One of those populations getting a lot of attention (and training) is alternative education programs that help young people get their high school diploma or GED credential.

DOL’s YouthBuild Program is running with the clean jobs message in a big way.  Its Shades of Green initiative is training youth in energy efficiency and renewable energy at community colleges and technical schools across the U.S.  On the  Shades of Green website, you’ll find great, helpful clean energy resources for organizations, like its Solar Photovoltaic Readiness Checklist, to help organizations train young workers for solar.

IREC’s Best Practices and Guidelines for Renewable Energy Programs is one of those resources cited, along with NABCEP for certification of solar practitioners.  After successfully graduating from YouthBuild, students may participate in NABCEP professional training following a registered apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship in electrical work and/or solar electrical installation.  YouthBuild recommends construction leaders in solar-friendly states to  pursue solar training for themselves and as instructors for YouthBuild students, and encourage NABCEP solar installer training procedures.  Utilities with solar installations, such as NYSERDA, PG&E, and SCE, collaborate to train new installers or host apprenticeships with local community colleges and labor unions.

IREC provides ISPQ accreditation for training programs, including the Florida Solar Energy Center, Solar Energy International, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the North Carolina Solar Center, the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and the Solar Living Institute.  ISPQ also certifies instructors.  For a complete list of ISPQ accredited organizations and certified instructors, see the ISPQ Awardees page of IREC’s website.


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