What a difference five years makes. Since 2010, the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) has become the benchmark for building a highly qualified, well-trained solar workforce. Thanks to the vision and support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, this cohesive network of nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs), IREC and DOE championed vitally relevant issues in workforce development and solar training and education.
A new, highly interactive Solar Career Map launched by IREC, designed for workforce professionals, educators, policymakers and job seekers, explores an expanding universe of solar-energy occupations, describing diverse jobs across the industry, charting possible progression between them, and identifying the high-quality training necessary to do them well.
Recently, I somewhat cavalierly confessed that I didn’t always recognize the need to improve as a trainer. Did I really believe I couldn’t learn new things?
Joe Sarubbi, project manager for the Solar Instructor Training Network, told Bloomberg BNA that safety training is an integral part of the courses, with specific training depending on how experienced students are with electrical and construction work and the jobs for which they are preparing.
President Barack Obama is expected to announce today a new goal to train 75,000 workers by 2020 for the growing solar energy industry, including military veterans.
President Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom will be veterans. This new goal builds on the tremendous progress of the DOE SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which includes nearly 500 partnering educational institutions across the country. To date, more than 1,000 solar instructors have trained through the SITN and an estimated 30,000 students have received some amount of training from them.
Today, February 13, 2015, is graduation day for the first group of veterans in a Solar PV Training pilot program specifically for veterans, from the SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy.
When I worked as an electrician, I knew that most people had little idea how much effort went into installing a light and switch in a home. They only saw the end product – the light and switch – and didn’t always “value” the time and effort it took to install those devices. They rarely saw all my work accomplished within the walls.
In the summer, I tend to listen to music more often than during the rest of the year. During my formative years, I was a fan of the rock group Pink Floyd, and yes, I still enjoy their music today. One of their more famous songs, “Another Brick in the Wall,” was released in 1979, the same year I started teaching, so it has special meaning to me. I made a pact with myself that I would never be just another brick in the wall, and I’d like to think that over my 32-year teaching career, I’ve made a difference.
There can’t be a much stronger seal of approval to a program’s success than to hear support for its growth straight from the president. Listening to a live feed of President Obama’s comments a few weeks ago on new clean energy initiatives, it was a proud moment for the SITN to hear of his support for additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.