Ahead of the annual MLK Day of Service, GRID Alternatives, a national non-profit leader in making solar power and job training accessible to underserved communities, announces renewed support for its SolarCorps Fellowship Program through the Corporation for National and Community Service. This support will help deploy renewable energy technology and job training in low-income communities across the United States. Over three years, the more than $1.6 million commitment will support 120 AmeriCorps members as they gain hands-on training and technical skills in the solar industry through service at GRID Alternatives’ affiliates and offices across the country.
“The SolarCorps Fellowship Program embodies our triple bottom line: people, planet, and employment,” said Erika Symmonds, GRID Alternatives’ VP of workforce development and service learning. “Through their paid year of service and training, SolarCorps fellows not only gain skills to launch a career in clean energy, but also make a difference on the ground by making the cost savings and job training opportunities in solar accessible in communities with fewer financial resources and more barriers to employment.”
The SolarCorps Fellowship Program exemplifies GRID Alternatives’ commitment to equity and expanding access to solar energy and career and leadership opportunities. GRID Alternatives has hosted fellows from eight tribal nations, over 70% of SolarCorps fellows are people of color, and the program doubled the number of women in construction roles during the 2017-2018 term.
Ruth Lopez, a SolarCorps construction fellow currently serving in Colorado, said, “I saw a brochure that said one of the biggest causes of financial challenges was high electricity bills. After that, I knew I wanted to do solar to help people stay in their homes.” She added, “I’ve learned so much in the past six months. I’ve learned so much about solar and I’m confident in myself.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service has supported GRID Alternatives through AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA since 2006, and more than 200 people have served as SolarCorps fellows. Impacts of this three year commitment include:
- 120 individuals will have the opportunity to serve at GRID Alternatives for a year of paid service;
- Over 200,000 hours of service in under-resourced communities;
- 4,500 families from underserved communities to receive no-cost solar power;
- Nearly $700,000 in education scholarships made available for AmeriCorps members to pay off existing education debt or go back to school.
News item from GRID Alternatives