By Debbie Gregory.
Ten military installations are slated to participate in a new initiative that provides jobs and energy.
Recently, President Obama kicked off the expansion of what is being called the “Solar Ready Vets Program” at Hill Air Force Base, in Utah.
Last year, a few small pilot programs started around the country through a partnership between the Department of Energy and the DOD, with the intention of connecting Veterans to the solar energy industry. The program prepare participants for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.
The success of these pilot programs, combined with the growing demand of jobs in the field of solar energy, and the ongoing need to employ our nation’s Veterans, has resulted in the expansion of the Solar Ready Vets Program. The goal is to train 75,000 workers for the renewable energy industry by 2020. Through the Solar Ready Veterans Program, a large portion of these workers will be former service members.
Hill AFB is one of the ten military installations that will participate in the expanded program. Solar Ready Vets is underway at Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, and Naval Station Norfolk.
Through the program, transitioning service members will learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes. This accelerated training will prepare them for these careers in this high demand field.
The solar industry is adding jobs at a rate of ten times faster than the bulk of the rest of the economy. This makes it a promising industry for Veterans to get into today. With the unemployment rate for transitioning service members being consistently over the national unemployment rate, a growing job market should attract a lot of Veterans to the solar industry.
For more information about the Solar Ready Vets program, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s web portal at http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/solar-ready-vets.
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Military Connection: Training Program for Solar Industry Expanded: By Debbie Gregory