“This program builds on IREC’s decades of success advancing innovative workforce strategies and will benefit the solar industry with access to a diverse pool of vetted entry-level workers with the right skills to succeed.”
Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Director – Workforce Development
Solar employers consistently cite lack of skilled, qualified workers as one of their primary barriers to further market expansion. This is a challenge across industries, but is acute in clean energy, where even entry-level jobs require considerable technical skills and knowledge.
At the same time, at-risk youth — Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working — number above four million, according to the Aspen Institute. The potential for ‘green’ jobs to pave a pathway out of poverty for at-risk youth has long been recognized, but a mismatch between training and jobs has many times led to frustratingly low employment outcomes.
In 2018, IREC partnered with the Home Builders Institute (HBI) to bring solar skills and information about solar career pathways to HBI Job Corps students and administrators in selected markets. This national model is based on hands-on, experiential training and employer-recognized certification focused on residential rooftop PV safety and weather-proofed installation of structural components.
The Residential Rooftop Solar PV Technician Certification builds on a solid foundation of common employability skills, as well as specialized knowledge in the building, electrical and plumbing trades obtained through HBI Job Corps training.
The student-focused outreach materials developed by IREC, include a recruitment video featuring AJ’s story, now available to educate HBI Job Corp participants about the benefits of careers in solar, whether or not they live in a state where solar has a strong, visible presence.