A Pilot Program to a New Future

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February 27, 2017

Mandated to work seven days a week in the receiving department of an agricultural packing plant, Raymond was despondent. He spent every day of his life standing in a small office performing the same repetitive task of counting and labeling fruit. After three years on the job, he received his first pay raise putting him at a whopping 25 cents above minimum wage.

Five months ago, Raymond thought he would be labeling fruit for the rest of his life. When his brother found a fulfilling solar career, Raymond began to see a brighter future for himself as well. Now Raymond wakes up in the morning happy and motivated knowing he is on his way to success in the solar industry.

The vast majority of agricultural workers in the Central Valley of California find themselves in low paid, labor-intensive positions, whether harvesting the produce in the field by hand or working in a factory preparing it for distribution. There is an abundance of entry-level positions in the agricultural industry. Many people do not yet know that there is also an abundance of work in the solar industry with higher paying jobs at the entry level as well as plenty of room to advance in the industry.

GRID Alternatives and Proteus Inc. are piloting a new program designed to provide industry exposure to participants in a short time frame. It teaches trainees what to expect in the solar industry including a day of real life, on the job training. This program will specifically address young adults associated with the agricultural industry.

The goal of this two-day crash course is to summarize the solar industry, show students what to expect in solar employment and give them enough insight and education to determine if a solar career is a fit for them.

On the first day of this training course, trainees will learn the basics of solar in a classroom setting. Students will receive education on the basics of photovoltaic solar systems, lessons about inverters and components of the system.

After a day of classroom training, students should be well prepared to secure what they have learned by utilizing that knowledge on a one-day install on a single-family household. We anticipate that this exposure will open doors in the minds of participants, showing solar job options, and that a fulfilling career is obtainable.