Solar Ready Vets: Preparing Veterans for the Solar Workforce

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Solar Ready Vets, created by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, connects our nation’s transitioning veterans to the growing solar energy industry. As these active duty service members prepare to enter the civilian world, the Solar Ready Vets program offers them the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the solar industry in a five- to six-week course.

Text Version

Below is the text version for the Solar Ready Vets: Preparing Veterans for the Solar Workforce video.

The video opens with images of soldiers in the army, air force, and navy.

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy:
Those who have served in our military have excellent training in leadership and organization and management and often in technical arenas that are relevant to service in the energy sector. Solar Ready Vets is a program that the Department of Energy has developed to provide training to our active duty service members who are transitioning off of active duty into civilian life again.

The solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in our economy, so we know that there are opportunities for our veterans to be employed in a meaningful role in that industry.

Caption: Solar Ready Vets: Preparing Our Veterans to Join the Growing Solar Workforce

The video shows several images of Vincent Curry, a marine, during his years of service. Then it cuts to an interview with him.

Vincent Curry, Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps:
After 12 1/2 years of service with numerous deployments under my belt it was my time, and I had to go. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the Marine Corps, it was a great stepping stone for the rest of my career and the rest of my life. Going from something that you know and have been doing for over decade to going to the civilian world… Going from structure to uncertainty is a little bit stressful. I never gave solar energy any thought. I didn't know anything about the solar industry. I had no idea how big it would be.

The video cuts to images of individuals in a classroom.

Andy Mackey, Solar Instructor and Operations Manager:
The Solar Ready Vets program is a long enough program that we can give somebody a complete overview of the industry. We are teaching to make an excellent graduate that's going to be able to go into any piece of this industry and be a value-add.

Vincent Curry:
The whole course was challenging. There was a lot of material crammed into 5 week. We learned everything from site survey to installation to safety. We were taught in the classroom, and then we went outside and we practiced it. So that brought everything together for all of us, whether you were a book learner, or a hands on type person.

Andy Mackey:
We need to make sure they are comfortable dealing with the racking structures, the photovoltaic modules themselves, as well as the extremely technical testing equipment. You actually need to go out there and get sweaty, be on a roof. And somebody that has that experience, not only knows how to install solar, but they now know how to manage solar. They may never pick up a tool again, some of these veterans, they’re leadership. But they need to understand how hard it is for those guys to pick up the tools, and how hard it is to work with a really cold wrench in 5 degree weather.

Tony Montemurno, Master Chief Machinist’s Mate, U.S. Navy:
Anybody can come to this course. Any vet, any rank. The solar industry is an extremely diversified field. There are positions from your bottom level installers, to electricians, to sales people, to marketing and logistics to manufacturing. So there is a place for everybody to fit in and there are different opportunities to take advantage of.

Andy Mackey:
We not only want to teach them the basics of the solar industry, but we have a resume writing session. We have a job interview session. They're coming out as a complete package.

Vincent Curry:
We received job interviews with the top 5 solar companies in the industry. All of us, the whole class. Today, I work in the solar industry as a safety and quality coach. I love the fact that I can go around and ensure that people are being safe. That is very fulfilling to me.

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall:
So the first few classes that we have graduated have been tremendously successful. Everybody who came out of the program has had a number of job offers. And that's given us the sense that we can do more with this program. It even caught the attention of the president of the United States. And he asked us to grow the program, so we are now going to be working on 10 military bases to provide this training.

Minh Le, Director, SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy:
What makes this program really great is that we are providing the training while they're on active duty before they leave the service, and at no cost to the active duty service member. Training our troops, and making sure they have a direct opportunity to transition the day they leave! That's so exciting!

Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy:
The clean energy revolution is now, the solar revolution is now. One out of 80 new jobs created last year were in the solar industry. We are just getting started.

Vincent Curry:
It is very important for me to not only have a job, but a career. And a career means I can rest easy at nighttime. It means I can create a better life or provide a better life, and a living for my family. Without the Solar Ready Vets program I definitely would not be here, and I am very grateful.

Caption: To learn more about Solar Ready Vets, visit