Originally published in Solar Power World
By Kelsey Misbrener
May 6, 2019
The solar industry can’t grow to the scale it aspires to without help from allied industries. While solar PV installers were the fastest-growing job in the country in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a hiring problem in the solar industry.
Bringing awareness to workers in allied industries with transferable skills — like those in construction or roofing — is one important way to help keep the solar workforce growing.
“It’s not going to be just people working in the energy field thinking about these issues,” said Laure-Jeanne Davignon, IREC’s VP of workforce development. “We also want these allied professionals to understand that we are part of the solution when it comes to safety and ensuring that professionals have the competencies they need to interact with solar technology.”
IREC engages with another related industries with other trade associations or organized labor groups. One way IREC has used this integrative model is through micro-credentialing — an easy way to make solar an “add-on” skill for related professions. IREC’s partnership with the National Apartment Association, where IREC added an energy efficiency micro-credential to the group’s existing certified apartment maintenance technician track, is an example.
The add-on credential covers everything from recognizing when energy efficiency maintenance is needed to sourcing contractors to communicating with residents about energy efficiency. This strategy could be used similarly with solar, adding solar installation as an add-on skill for roofers or builders or other related fields.
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