EPC contractor Orbital Solar Services worked with the first round of trainees from its Unbound Horizons program at two Lightsource bp project sites — Black Bear Solar in Alabama and Conway Solar at Happy in Arkansas.
“As we develop solar projects across America, we look for partners who are helping further diversity, equity, inclusion and justice across the solar industry,” said Kevin Smith CEO of the Americas for Lightsource bp. “We applaud OSS for launching their Unbound Horizons program, another step forward in an equitable transition to a world powered by clean energy that benefits everyone.”
The Unbound Horizons program started in 2021 by Orbital Energy Group and its subsidiaries to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people to pursue careers in the solar industry. OEG’s goal is to bridge equity gaps between the solar industry and the communities in which it works by reaching out to recent high school graduates, veterans and formerly incarcerated people.
“OSS/UH has given me a good idea about what my career path can and will look like,” said Isaac Fortier, one of the trainees working on the Black Bear site. “The time and experience working with people in different positions in the field, as well as the office, has taught me a lot about what I’m good at and enjoy.”
Thanks to all major partners such as Array Technologies, Nextracker and others that have supported trainees thus far, OEG was able to create Unbound Horizons and make a difference through diversity.
“As a company firmly focused on environmental and social initiatives, we believe the renewable energy sector, especially solar energy, opens doors to important job opportunities,” said Erica Brinker, Array Technologies chief commercial officer and head of ESG. “Unbound Horizons taps talent in our communities and equips workers with hands-on skills to launch rewarding careers in green energy. We are grateful to be engaged in this vital training program.”
“The OSS program, Unbound Horizons, and others like it, help bridge gaps to diverse communities of people where the talent is often untapped or where there have been barriers to access,” said Tandalea Mercer, Nextracker’s Director of Diversity, Culture & Inclusion. “Sometimes, equity means access to opportunities and we are pleased to be a part of a program where we can help find solutions to our industry challenge to find diverse talent.”
Valuable insights into potential career opportunities are gained while learning life skills, inter-personal skills, basic Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Outreach Training Program safety skills, and various technical skills related to low to medium voltage solar power generation projects. Mentorship is a key component of the Unbound Horizons outreach program. Each participant is assigned a mentor to help personalize the experience for the trainees, by addressing concerns in one-on-one discussions and providing guidance and direction for the participant throughout the learning experience. At the end of their journey with Unbound Horizons, the trainees will receive an OSHA certification as well as a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan blue card and career path for their future endeavors in the industry.
“The Unbound Horizons program demonstrates OEG’s commitment to extend equal employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals interested in pursuing careers in the renewable industry and, more importantly, to give those individuals the opportunity to achieve goals and accomplish successes that they might not have otherwise experienced,” said Jim O’Neil, Orbital Energy Group’s vice-chairman and CEO.
News item from Orbital