Video: Preparing Veterans for the Solar Workforce

VioNet/Shutterstock.com

This Energy Department initiative provides veterans with training and an introduction to the expanding solar industry.

As active-duty service members prepare to transition to civilian life, adapting to the instability of the job market can be tough. Now, the Energy Department is helping veterans take that first step.

"Solar Ready Vets," a program developed by the agency's SunShot Initiative is preparing to expand to 10 different military bases.

"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," said Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the deputy energy secretary.

Service members preparing to retire from the military can enroll in an intensive five-week course to learn everything there is to know about the solar industry.

"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," said Andy Mackey, a solar instructor and operations manager. "You actually need to go out there and get sweaty, be on a roof. They may never pick up a tool again, 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." 

The course also includes resume-writing sessions and job-interview sessions to better prepare veterans for the civilian job market. 

Vincent Curry, a veteran who spent over 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, says he felt lost when looking for a career outside of the military. 

"I never gave solar energy any thought," he said. "I didn't know anything about the solar industry. I had no idea how big it would be."

Now, Curry works as a safety and quality coach in the solar industry, ensuring those installing solar equipment adhere to safety standards. 

To learn more, check out the video below from the Energy Department: 

(Image via VioNet/ Shutterstock.com)

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