The solar industry is one of the fastest areas of job growth in America today, offering career opportunities to all education and experience levels. The Solar Foundation leads major initiatives and conducts research to support a strong and diverse solar workforce. We help the industry meet urgent hiring needs by connecting solar employers, training providers, career seekers, and workforce boards.
Solar Ready Vets Network
Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are outstanding candidates for careers in the solar industry. Through the Solar Ready Vets Network, The Solar Foundation is connecting transitioning military service members and veterans with solar industry career training and professional development opportunities. In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Solar Energy Industries Association, we are expanding and strengthening a nationwide pipeline of military talent into a range of technical and leadership roles in the solar industry.
The Solar Foundation currently leads two Solar Ready Vets initiatives to support solar career opportunities for veterans.
The Solar Ready Vets Fellowship places transitioning service members with solar employers for valuable work-based learning opportunities and on-the-job training. Through this process, employers gain access to a natural recruitment pipeline of the best and brightest transitioning military talent. We are currently inviting employers to join the program which is available at no cost.
The Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative engages solar industry leaders, certified training providers, and career development networks to strengthen veteran solar career pathways. We are engaged in a range of national, high-impact capacity building efforts to align veteran talent and skills with industry workforce needs.
Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator
The Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator is a program to support solar workforce development, finance, and microgrid development in Puerto Rico. Led by The Solar Foundation in partnership with Pathstone Corporation, Inc., this program will expand and strengthen the Puerto Rican solar industry and spur the development of a highly qualified workforce.
This program is part of a $4.5 million initiative to provide business assistance and workforce development for Puerto Rican solar and construction companies, with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). Through the program, The Solar Foundation and partners work collaboratively with Puerto Rican solar companies to improve financing for solar projects and support a robust workforce pipeline. The team will also develop two solar and storage microgrid development pilots.
Other program partners include Oxfam; the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez; and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Solar Training and Career Connections
The Solar Training Network was a program led by The Solar Foundation designed to help meet the workforce needs of the solar industry through solar training and strategic employment partnerships. By connecting job seekers, employers, and training providers, this program helped bridge the gap between supply and demand in the solar jobs market. Over the course of the program, the Solar Training Network hosted or supported 14 career fairs, reaching over 1,000 job seekers.
The three-year federal award for this work concluded in 2019, but we are continuing with further initiatives to support workforce training and solar career development. In September 2019, we hosted a career fair at Solar Power International to connect job seekers with the latest opportunities at national solar companies. We also led two roundtable workshops focused on resources and strategies for solar industry workforce development.
Visit AmericanSolarWorkforce.org to view this program’s career connections platform, which hosts a suite of tools to encourage industry-led, regionally adaptive workforce planning.
Workforce Development Resources
Strategies for Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry is an indispensable resource published by the Solar Training Network. The toolkit provides actionable solutions for industry-led workforce development initiatives. Download the toolkit to learn how teaming with the public workforce system and starting word-based learning programs can benefit your company, and how to get started.
In 2017, the The Solar Training Network released Solar Training and Hiring Insights, an in-depth report in 2017 showcasing solar industry trends, employer preferences and case studies, the business case for investment in training, a state-by-state index of demand for workforce development, and more.
The Solar Career Map, published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, allows instructors, policymakers, and job seeker to explore the broad range of careers available across the entire solar industry.
Financing the Next Generation of Solar Workers, released in 2012, provided a starting point for a new path forward in financing solar workforce training. This marks the culmination of a joint effort between The Solar Foundation, SolarTech, and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), working together under the SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC), to conceive of a number of innovative funding mechanisms to provide adequate private-sector funding for workforce training programs.