Project Name: Safer’s Solar Energy Demand Skills Training Program
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Chicago, IL
DOE Award Amount: $800,000
Awardee Cost Share: N/A
Planned Timeline: 2019-2022

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project will deliver a training program that prepares people with arrest and conviction records for the solar energy workforce. The Safer Foundation and its partners in Illinois will train participants for solar jobs based on their interests and aptitudes. Experienced solar industry trainers, employers, and partners will combine classroom training, hands-on lab experience, and real-world installations to enable participants to better understand the sales, design, and installation fields.

Program participants readying solar panels for shipping.
Program participants readying solar panels for shipping. Photo courtesy of Safer Foundation.


The project team will convene an advisory team of solar training partners, employers, industry associations, and community-based organizations, and will recruit and enroll participants. Experienced solar industry trainers will use collaborative feedback to provide accredited training that prepares participants for employment in the solar industry. Participants will receive on-the-job training opportunities to hone their skills through partnership with employers and industry organizations, and the team will provide support and connections to employers. Peers and collaborative partners will be asked to give feedback to improve the program.


The project team will build an industry-specific pipeline of qualified candidates with arrest and conviction records, trained by experienced solar partners using an accredited, tailored curriculum. Safer will leverage its employer and industry relationships, as well as its own construction company, Reconstruction Technology Partners, to give participants real-world, hands-on experiences. This project will prepare traditionally hard-to-employ people for work on the grid.