For those of us who live on the east coast, this will go down as “The Winter to Remember.” Record snowfall. Flight delays. Winter storm namings.
Solar, however, has been setting its own records from coast to coast.
According to The Solar Foundation’s recent jobs census, solar jobs grew in 43 states in 2013. Now at 142K solar jobs nationally, the U.S. solar industry grew at 10-times the rate of the overall U.S. economy.
In partnership with IREC, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is encouraging its members to recognize the significant value quality workforce training brings to the solar industry by signing a pledge to support and use quality training methods.
Just last week, IREC joined 20 other national business organizations in Washington, D.C. to share plans to ensure students and workers have the knowledge and skills they need for today’s globally competitive workplace. Convened by ACT Foundation and the Business Roundtable, the newly formed National Network of Business and Industry Associations is coordinating cross-sector efforts to close the “skills gap.”
Ivanpah, the largest solar thermal installation in the world, came on line in California’s Mojave Desert. During peak construction from 2010-2013, Ivanpah created 2,100 jobs.
And it’s only February!
The solar job census news gives all of us in the education and training business a reason to feel good about our efforts. In fact, it makes our work more important than ever. A skilled solar workforce means safer installations, reduced costs and satisfied customers.
At the same time, the nascent solar industry has had its share of hiccups, and the domino effect has been felt at some education and training institutions.
But like a sailboat adjusting its sails in shifting winds, the SITN has been able to stay-the-course. The network’s Regional Training Providers (RTPs) have been the consummate team of experts who have adapted their programs to align with the rapidly changing demands of the solar industry. New instructors continue to line up for training. Institutions continue to develop new solar courses or integrate solar into existing curriculum. And individuals continue to be the benefactors by gaining meaningful employment in the solar industry nationwide.
In this edition of the Quarterly, you’ll learn of the exceptional training and education that RTPs are conducting all across the country. You’ll read success stories that spark ongoing enthusiasm about the solar industry.
As we move closer to spring, the March winds will remind us we cannot direct the wind, like we cannot always direct the solar industry; but we can adjust our sails
p.s. The RTPs and their partners offer quality solar workforce training throughout the U.S. See what is happening in your community.