Solar installer jobs are expected to increase more than 50% by 2030, one of the fastest growing occupations in the clean energy sector, and there is a need for more workers skilled in this field to meet the demand.
That’s why the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) partnered with the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to develop the Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship aims to ensure that Florida continues to produce well-trained, highly qualified solar energy technicians. Approved by the Florida Dept. of Education, the program is the first and only solar apprenticeship in the country registered with the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
“Workforce education is a top priority for Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), with the goal of being number one in the nation by 2030,” wrote Kathryn Wheeler, director of apprenticeship for FLDOE, in the program approval letter.
The Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship Program provides a pathway to state certification of Florida’s solar contractor license, which allows a company to install both photovoltaic and solar thermal water heating systems. The apprenticeship program is comprised of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) and 296 hours of classroom training.
“We’ve been working on the solar apprenticeship over the past year, and through the hard work of FSEC, FlaSEIA, and a dedicated group of solar contractors, solar companies across the Sunshine State can now take advantage of the registered apprenticeship system to grow their solar installation workforce,” said Colleen McCann Kettles, solar apprenticeship committee secretary and FSEC director of workforce and business development.
“The solar apprenticeship program adds credibility to our apprentice’s future and gives contractors in the state a higher level of confidence that when hiring one of our apprentices that they are getting a well-rounded and competent individual, someone who will become an asset for their company,” said David Bessette, solar apprenticeship committee chair and president of Energy Technology Services. “Finding skilled labor, especially trained and educated skilled solar energy technicians, has been a daunting task.”
The Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship Program will begin recruiting solar employers who are interested in being a part of the program in the coming months.
For more information, contact Colleen Kettles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News item from FlaSEIA