WomanDrillingFor the third consecutive year, the Solar Foundation’s annual Solar Jobs Census found solar job growth was near or above 20 percent from the previous year.

According to the census report released today, the U.S. solar industry now provides opportunities for nearly 209,000 solar workers in all 50 states, with the solar industry creating jobs at a rate 12 times higher than the overall economy.

This is welcome news as we begin 2016. And to guide job seekers, educators and trainers, school and career counselors, students and industry professionals through the constantly growing opportunities in the evolving solar industry, IREC’s new Solar Career Map offers a dynamic, interactive 21st century tool.

IREC’s Solar Career Map charts a course for promotion or advancement through the modern solar industry. Full of valuable data about the knowledge, skills and credentials needed to perform 40 key solar jobs, the map also breathes life into these occupations, through the faces and stories behind this expanding universe.

Five short videos introduce us to a number of solar professionals who speak about their work, how they came into solar, and their backgrounds and skills. Together with the extensive information presented in interactive formats, it delivers an understanding of the depth and breadth of opportunities a solar career can offer. The necessity for integrated solar training in a variety of related fields is clearly demonstrated, as are opportunities for special categories of workers, including our military veterans.

The map illustrates how much broader the solar industry is beyond the panel installer we see on a roof. It highlights four sectors – manufacturing, system design, project development and installation/operations, as well as cross-sector advancement opportunities, which can accommodate the evolution of skills and interest for individual workers. As Kelly Larson, Kelly Larson Electric, says in one of the map’s videos, “There’s a place for everybody in solar.”

The Solar Career Map – created with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative – emerged from a simple vision: high-quality work and high-quality jobs are the key to building a robust, high-quality solar industry. Like any good map, it not only shows the possible destinations, but how to get there.

Click here to more about the Solar Career Map.