Job Trainee Spotlight: a career shift with a focus on impact

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August 10, 2016

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Job Trainee, Doug, at the GRID warehouse

After working 20 years in the food service business, Doug Hackett felt unenthused and discontent with the lack of upward mobility in the industry. So when he saw a posting on Craigslist about Rising Sun Energy Center, a leading green training, employment, and residential efficiency organization based out of Berkeley, he jumped at the chance to turn his career in a new direction.

While Doug said that he hadn’t thought much about joining the solar industry before working with Rising Sun, he had recently read about the growing demand for solar, which piqued his interest. Over the past decade or so, the price of solar has dropped, allowing for the market to grow tremendously, along with the demand for skilled solar job trainees. Rising Sun referred Doug to GRID Alternatives, where he recently finished a 12 week training program, averaging 25 hours of work per week. Knowing that hands-on experience is an integral part of attaining jobs in solar installation, Doug knew GRID’s internship would be beneficial to both his practical abilities and his resume when pursuing a career in solar.

When discussing what he’s learned from the program, Doug’s list was long. He is now very familiar with all of the parts involved in solar installation, which he regularly works hands on in the warehouse. Everything from rail to module to conduit - Doug deals with it daily. Beyond the tactile knowledge, Doug has become familiar with the possibilities of solar and renewable energy to offset our traditional polluting energy sources and start making our daily life more sustainable. Probably most important to him, though, are the instruction and safety skills he can give to volunteers and maintain on the job site wherever he goes next. Regarding his goals for the future, Doug said he’d “like to learn all the aspects. Start with the installation field. Then, move possibly to sales.”  His ultimate goal, he shared, would be to have his own business.

Throughout his program and in his job search to come, Doug shared that he was most motivated by a desire to reduce his carbon footprint, and was truly moved by the hard-working and professional people that he met while working with GRID and Rising Sun. We are so happy here at GRID to have motivated and hardworking job-trainees like Doug. Thank you for your work!

To find out more about how you can get involved with our job training programs, email Daisy Meyer: dmeyer@gridalternatives.org.

A huge thanks to Anna Cheyette and Hannah Haugenes who co-authored this blog and both served as interns this year for GRID Bay Area!