- The city of Washington D.C. and GRID Alternatives, a non-profit group that trains individuals for solar jobs, recently formed a partnership called Solar Works DC. The goal is to provide on-the-job training in renewable energy tech to low-income neighborhoods. At the same time, the installation of solar panels on low-income housing would decrease costs for residents and the impact on the power grid.
- Director of Washington's Department of Energy and Environment,Tommy Wells, told The Christian Science Monitor that the city plans to invest as much as $300 million in solar energy projects over the next 15 years. Experts expect a 26% increase in the number of solar jobs this year alone.
- Already, the first group of 12 has completed the intensive hands-on training and are lining up job interviews. Another class is set to start September 5th.
At the crossroads of energy technology and an emerging generation of eager workers, the Solar Works DC initiative meets the needs of otherwise disadvantaged communities and also provides a potential source of talent for an industry struggling to make up for talent losses from retirement.
The training programs can give local workers the hands-on skills they need to succeed while providing a more consistent stream of talent to local companies. This logic drives why the Trump administration has turned to apprenticeship programs as a key labor policy objective during its first term. People who can do the jobs are out there — it is simply a matter of teaching them the skills they need to succeed.
A similar approach is happening in Wyoming with wind turbine energy programs. Apprenticeship and upskilling programs that put people to work in high-growth industries with focused training programs will likely continue to expand in coming years.