DOE Initiative Preparing Service Members for Solar Industry Jobs prior to Separation

Transitioning service members at three military installations are receiving training for jobs in the solar industry through a pilot program run by the Department of Energy (DOE).

This pilot is enabled by DOD’s SkillBridge initiative, which allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships and internships up to six months prior to their separation date. Service members who graduate from the solar training program will gain the skills to size and install solar panels, safely connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes, according to a DOE press release.

The first class of Marine trainees at Camp Pendleton, Calif., graduated from the program last week, which is aimed at preparing service members for careers as solar photovoltaic system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other positions. Camp Pendleton — along with Fort Carson, Colo., and Naval Station Norfolk, Va. — are participating in DOE’s SunShot Initiative to train 200 service members for jobs in the solar energy industry.

Training at Fort Carson and Naval Station Norfolk will begin in the spring.

“As more homes and businesses across America choose solar power for their electricity needs, the solar industry is growing rapidly, and demand for highly skilled solar workers is on the rise,” said Minh Le, director of the SunShot Initiative.

The solar industry is a leader in hiring military veterans, with veterans accounting for almost 10 percent of the industry’s total employment of nearly 174,000 people nationwide. Five of the largest U.S. solar companies by workforce — SolarCity, Vivint Solar, Sunrun, SunEdison and SunPower — have committed to interview military trainees graduating from the pilot program.

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