Solar’s Faces, Stories and Data Create Unique Career Map Tool

“Be able to handle change. Things change rapidly in this industry.” This is the advice from Brad Burkhartzmeyer, Sun’s Eye Solar, in a video featured in an enhanced Solar Career Map, released earlier this fall by IREC.

With the solar industry adding jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy,* just about the only certainty is change. Not just change in technology and market conditions, but change in the types of jobs needed to support industry growth and diversification, and the experience and credentials needed to fill those jobs with quality workers.

IREC’s Solar Career Map features a dynamic, interactive interface – a 21st century tool that charts a course for promotion or advancement through growing opportunities in the modern solar industry. Chock 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 all sorts 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, job seekers and employers, school and career counselors, training providers and other workforce professionals understand 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.

Interested in learning more about the Solar Career Map? IREC is hosting a series of webinars and other learning opportunities to show a broad range of stakeholders how the map can support their work. The first webinar is November 5, at 2:30 ET. Register using this link. We look forward to introducing you to the full power of this unique tool.

*2014 Solar Jobs Census, The Solar Foundation