Honoring Our Veterans through Jobs in Solar Energy
by Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
Deputy Secretary of Energy
On Veterans Day, we honor the more than 21 million living American veterans. Here at the Department of Energy, we are honored to have the opportunity to express our gratitude to veterans of previous wars, welcome home those who have recently served, and thank the future veterans who still stand sentry for our nation.
To play our part in appreciating our service members, the Department of Energy is working hard to open doors to career opportunities for veterans in the dynamic solar industry, which now employs more than 174,000 people — more than auto and light truck manufacturing — and has been adding jobs 20 times faster than the wider economy. Already, we are proud that veterans make up more than 10 percent of the solar industry workforce.
To build on this strong trend, last year the Department of Energy launched the Solar Ready Vets pilot program to provide veterans transitioning out of the military and into civilian life with the skills they need to enter the rapidly growing solar industry. The program provides training to our service members just prior to their leaving active duty and helps prepare them for jobs as installers, inspectors, electricians, sales representatives and a number of other roles.