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Project Name: The National Solar Jobs Accelerator
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Washington, D.C.
DOE Award Amount: $2 million
Awardee Cost Share: N/A
Planned Timeline: 2019-2022

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

This project, part of the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s (SETO) Solar Ready Vets Network, is designed to expand and strengthen the pipeline of military-service members and veterans transitioning into the U.S. solar workforce. The Solar Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring our Heroes program, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners will connect transitioning service members and veterans with education, training, certifications, work-based learning opportunities, and jobs in the solar industry.

APPROACH

The National Solar Jobs Accelerator will connect veterans with training and employment opportunities through two major program activities. The Solar Ready Vets Network includes the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship Program and the Solar Opportunities and Readiness Initiative (SOAR). In the fellowship program, transitioning service members will receive 12-week fellowships with solar employers, which include management and professional roles in technical sales; system design; project development; operations, commissioning, and maintenance; and other areas. As part of the SOAR, the team will develop and implement an online matchmaking system to connect veterans with education, professional development, and employment opportunities that can lead to solar careers. They will facilitate the use of G.I. Bill benefits for solar training and certifications, build a registered apprenticeship program, and work with the solar industry to sponsor community college programs and create new opportunities for veterans across the country. 

INNOVATION

This project will provide solar industry opportunities beyond installation training to transitioning service members and veterans who have varied educations, experiences, and interests. To create more comprehensive workforce initiatives, the team will tap into best practices identified by SETO’s Solar Training Network and Solar Ready Vets program, which found ways to better integrate solar career pathways into public workforce development programming at regional scales, and veteran career services. The team will initiate industry partnerships and engage community and technical colleges, workforce boards, and community and economic development organizations in high-demand markets.