From Oil to Solar

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November 28, 2016

The world as we know it is changing. Deficiencies in our prior practices reflected by climate change and discernable in the communities affected by these changes are inspiring a major global revision. Power plants are going down and solar fields are on the rise as we launch this world wide transformation to clean energy. This wonderful revolution will bring hope and opportunity to future generations however, we have to consider the domino effect of these changes. Many of the people that have spent their entire lives working to provide our planets energy sources are being laid off. After a lifetime of hard work and dedication they are being dismissed, with a plethora of skills and no industry to apply them to.

As production and profits in the oil industry have begun declining over the recent years there have been an estimated 385,000 layoffs. After spending the majority of their lives working in the oil industry, skilled workers are laid off, abruptly being forced to consider a whole new path in life. They are now facing the challenge of finding another job market that is lucrative enough to support them in maintaining the lifestyle in which they have become accustomed, where they can apply some of the skills they have spent their lives mastering. The average salary of an oil field worker is around 100K per year, with the average full time entry level position being at 20K per year.  To transition to the entry level pay rate, these former oil field workers would lose the things they have worked for such as their homes, transportation and other investments they have made throughout their lives. Supporting the lives they have built will require finding a related job market that will value their experience and expertise, and pay them accordingly. Then they must figure out how to infiltrate that new job market. This will involve re-learning interviewing and resume building skills along with figuring out how and where to find such jobs in a world that has changed so much since the last time they sought employment.

Last week my colleagues from the volunteerism department and I were honored to present our job readiness workshop to the members of the Creating Conscious Communities Coalition. This organization was started by Sonia Jeffery-Webster and Ali Morris in an effort to steer low to moderate income individuals in their community in the right direction.  For the individuals that are being laid off, this can be a tragic life shattering experience. The 3C Coalition is finding ways to help these individuals by finding lucrative job markets for these people to transition to. They partner with different businesses to create a strong coalition that will succeed in helping these individuals. With the solar industry on the rise, the 3C Coalition has formed a partnership with GRID Alternatives that will assist individuals with the opportunity to explore the solar industry. Hopefully solar construction will provide a smooth transition to these people, giving them a somewhat similar job environment and the opportunity to regain the financial stability they once had.