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As the cost of solar energy continues to drop, it could become one of the cheapest electricity sources by 2030—and the solar job market will continue to flourish. In 2014, one out of every 78 new jobs created in the U.S. was a solar job.
With rapid growth, the industry must find enough qualified workers to keep pace with demand. That’s why the SunShot Initiative recently released the Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) funding opportunity. STEP will address gaps in solar installation training and energy education. That includes building out the Solar Ready Vets program, connecting veterans in transition to solar jobs training and to the companies that are hiring.
Solar Ready Vets launched as a pilot program in January 2015 at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. We corresponded with Logan Rozanski, a Marine who was part of the first cohort to receive the training as he transitioned out of military service into civilian life. A retired lance corporal, he now holds a job with SunPower as an associate remote operations control center operator.
“The entire course of study was invaluable,” Rozanski wrote. “The training provided a pertinent curriculum in so many areas of the industry including installation, system design and mechanics, and electrical theory. Solar Ready Vets is more than just a course of thorough technical training—it’s a means of illustrating congruence between the skills held by military service members and the skills desired by employers.”
When Rozanski first heard of Solar Ready Vets through the Marine Corps Community Services office, he knew it was a great opportunity to get involved with a growing field as his time in the military came to an end. The training program gave him the skills he needed to ensure success entering the larger job market.
“While I have full confidence in my abilities, I know I wouldn’t have been able to get my current job without the knowledge I gained from Solar Ready Vets. Having been afforded a chance to showcase my newfound knowledge in face-to-face interviews with five recruiting teams was invaluable.”
It was from those interviews that Rozanski attained his current job with SunPower. At the current rate the solar industry is adding jobs, he encourages other service members who are approaching their discharge dates to take advantage of the program should it come to their military installations, even if they have no previous knowledge of the industry.
“There is no reason for veterans to limit their current skillsets or their interpretation of them. Solar Ready Vets provides a gateway to an exponentially growing job field that has given no indication of slowing down. This program is a perfect example of a broth that cannot be spoiled by too many cooks.”