By Pat Fox, Laure-Jeanne Davignon
March 11, 2013
Last month, we had the opportunity to collaborate with Jane Weissman, IREC’s president and chief operating officer, Joe Sarubbi, program administrator for the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), and Gerald Bernstein, PI/California/Hawaii Regional Training Provider (RTP), one of nine RTPs in the national Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), on the IREC Credentialing Program. Organized by Kathleen Alfano, director/PI of the National Science Foundation’s CREATE Renewable Energy Center in Santa Clarita, CA, the day-long workshop offered a national perspective on trends in solar training, education and workforce development. Some 40 instructors and administrators from CREATE schools in California attended.
Our presentation (given remotely via video conferencing), gave a brief but detailed overview of the credentialing process and requirements for both accreditation and certification of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and instructors. The use of video helped to audience to stay engaged and there were many astute questions from institutions considering obtaining an IREC credential. Community colleges are strong candidates for the IREC credentials, but occasionally, fees are a barrier to entry. To help with that, the California/Hawaii RTP launched a competitive mini-grant program to fund some up front costs for five colleges.
According to Bernstein, the grant will cover the initial application fee,a portion of onsite assessment costs, and annual maintenance fees over the five-year accreditation cycle. The grant also will cover fees for up to two instructors seeking affiliatedinstructor or master trainer certification. “We laud the California/Hawaii RTP’s efforts in support of credentialing for solar programs” says Pat Fox, IREC’s Director of Credentialing Development. “We have seen programs of this type truly raise the bar for solar education in other regions, and look forward to working with California and Hawaii institutions to reach this same goal.”