The Solar Foundation, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and other partners in the Solar Ready Vets Network have obtained approvals from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make exam fees for solar industry credentials eligible for reimbursement under the GI Bill. These new benefits will make it easier for military service members and veterans to obtain solar certifications and pursue career advancement in the American solar workforce.
With this approval, transitioning service members and veterans can now apply for the reimbursement of exam fees associated with the NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate (PVA) Credential, as well as all solar board certifications, including PV Installation Professional; PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist; PV Design Specialist; PV Installer Specialist; PV Technical Sales and PV System Inspector.
Established in 1944, the GI Bill covers costs associated with higher education and training programs for qualifying veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
A PVA Credential or Board Certification prepares individuals for careers in the solar industry and demonstrates their training and experience to potential employers. It is most often the first step toward a NABCEP Board Certification and lends added recognition in a field with many career paths to pursue.
“With strong leadership, organizational and technical skills, veterans are well suited for a range of solar careers,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation. “Now that solar industry credentials are more accessible for veterans, solar companies will have greater opportunity to hire diverse and highly qualified employees with military experience.”
This effort was completed under the Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative, which is led by The Solar Foundation with support from NABCEP and other partners. The SOAR Initiative engages solar industry leaders, certified training providers, and career development networks to strengthen veteran solar career pathways. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office as part of the Solar Ready Vets Network.
“Making NABCEP’s Board Certification and Associate credential exams eligible for GI Bill benefits will improve the quality of the PV labor market and ensure the sustainability of the expanding solar industry,” said Shawn O’Brien, president and CEO of NABCEP. “We look forward to continuing our work with The Solar Foundation and the rest of the Solar Ready Vets Network to provide veterans with innovative solar career pathways that help facilitate a widespread transition to clean energy.”
“This is wonderful news for solar training providers and will help promote training around the country. Properly trained soldiers are highly desired and recruited by many solar companies and this will further the soldiers’ value in the workforce,” said Arthur Garno, director of the SUNY Canton CREST Center. “We at SUNY Canton CREST look forward to providing veterans and transitioning service members with credentials needed to break into the solar industry.”
The Solar Foundation is actively seeking employer partners in the solar industry to become engaged in direct impact and capacity building initiatives through the Solar Ready Vets Network, as well as veterans or transitioning service members interested in solar careers.
Veterans interested in learning more about solar industry career development are encouraged to join The Solar Foundation and NABCEP for a webinar, “Solar Training, Credentialing and Career Pathways” on Wednesday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. ET.
News item from The Solar Foundation