State & Stakeholder Newsletter, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Volume #9, Issue #19
Editor: Jane Pulaski

The IREC State & Stakeholder Newsletter is a foremost resource for current information on green workforce training, credentialing programs, state activities and best practices on renewable energy and energy efficiency. This free newsletter is distributed semi-monthly to email subscribers and published on IREC’s website.  If you have comments or if you would like to submit a news item, email Jane Pulaski.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click here and follow the instructions.

If you want the best news about what’s going on in the states and cities, read the State & Stakeholder Newsletter (September 22, 2010)

From the editor:

Texas electricians get solar training under NABCEP’s Alternative Experience Pathway

For those of you who are wondering if I’m showing a little bit of hometown pride by featuring (now) two Texas cities in the past two issues of this newsletter, you might be right.   Maybe it’s because I’m not there right now; perhaps I’m a little homesick, but in reality, there’s a lot happening with solar training in my little state, especially in my home town, Austin.

It was just January 2010 when ImagineSolar, the Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), and the Austin Workforce Investment Board received a $4.8 million Department of Labor grant to train current and future workers in Central Texas, with skill sets ranging from unskilled labor to highly skilled electricians. The project’s targeted Construction Wiremen/ Construction Electricians (CWCEs), Apprentices, and Journeyworker Electricians represent three occupations – and three opportunities – on a single career ladder in a growing industry.  Coincidentally, NABCEP was looking for a venue to pilot its Alternative Experience Pathway for electricians to satisfy the experience requirements to sit for the NABCEP Certified PV installer exam.  It didn’t haveto look very far.

Since July, the course has been offered twice, and 24 journeyman and master electricians have completed ImagineSolar’s 120 hours of a multi-course training that ends with its PV 330: Project  Field Experience Workshop.  According to Kuhn, the extensive curriculum includes hands-on installation experience of PV electric systems based on the NABCEP Task Analysis and ISPQ workforce education best practices.  Two PV 330 classes have been held so far; there’s one more scheduled for March 2011 in preparation for the March 26, 2011 NABCEP PV certifying exam.

Michael’s not a newcomer to the solar industry.  He founded ImagineSolar in 2002 and, along with CH2M Hill’s, John Hoffner, helped establish the first solar training program at Austin Community College. Also, Kuhn and Hoffner were leaders in establishing the first solar incentive program in Texas with the City of Austin.  Not surprisingly, Kuhn is both a NABCEP Certified PV Installer and an ISPQ Master Trainer (one of only 17 in the U.S.).

What’s remarkable, and encouraging, is that in a very short amount of time, NABCEP’s rigorous task analysis and ISPQ’s best practices are bringing highly qualified journeyman and master electricians into the solar industry.  As ImagineSolar’s CEO, Michael Kuhn says, “We know we’re building a qualified workforce that the public can trust has the expertise to design and install safe, code-compliant solar electric systems.”

You’re right, Michael.  If we build the clean energy workforce right (this time), with careful, demanding and thorough curriculum and best practices, we all benefit.  Keep up the great work.

P.S.  It’s just a few weeks away from IREC’s Annual Meeting, on Monday, October 11, in Los Angeles.  You are coming, right?

Read the State & Stakeholder Newsletter, September 22, 2010

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