Career Fair brings a diverse group of talent together to learn about solar

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May 01, 2017

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Two people with an interest in the solar industry meet under a tent
An employer and attendee looking for a career connect at the Solar Career Fair.

The GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles Solar Career Fair held Thursday, April 27 was a resounding success. Our April career fair's debut was everything we (or an aspiring professional) could have asked for! More than fifteen private sector employers assembled in one central location to provide wide-ranging depth of experience across the sustainability sector. During the fair, more than 200 resumes were collected, and the event drew well over that number of people throughout the day to network, probe L.A.'s hiring landscape, and have questions answered.

According to Workforce Development Manager Adewale OgunBadejo, the career fair met all our expectations thanks to "the genuine commitment by solar employers to support GRID's work by bringing green career opportunities directly to the people and meeting them at a location that was accessible to all. We want to continue hosting fairs and other events that ensure individuals from underserved communities not only receive hands-on training but also have opportunities to work for the companies that are at the forefront of today's growing solar industry."

Due to GRIDLA's long-running collaboration with Los Angeles Trade Technical College and its solar instructor Brano Goluza, we were able to convene industry leaders in the ideal venue for a solar career event: a tent on the LATTC South Quad with dozens of representatives, where job-seekers entered free of charge. In addition to so many corporate representatives attending, we were thrilled to designate a corner of the career fair for a new event sponsor, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Additionally, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was represented by IBEW Local Union 11 and IBEW Local Union 18. This cross-section of organizations made the Solar Career Fair a truly unique educational resource for locals, yielding facetime with construction, design, and sales professionals all within a few steps of each other. In fact, employers reported setting up more than forty interviews with attendees.

Additionally, GRIDLA was pleased to have a trio of dynamic speakers, each qualified in his or her own way to talk about linking good people with good-paying jobs. Executive Director Michael Kadish was on point explaining the purpose of our event, especially in light of how GRIDLA's workforce mission has evolved. President Laurence Frank of LATTC, an advocate for career education with extensive backgrounds in education, law, and organized labor, followed Michael's remarks with a message to inspire people in pursuit of a new career. The speaking program concluded with General Manager Jan Perry of the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department. She wasn't just outstanding at encouraging us all to make use of the community's resources on our road to solar energy; she also noted that there are unique pathways in solar open to historically-disadvantaged groups and returning citizens, and that GRIDLA promotes both.

We'd like to thank all of the employers who joined us last week at LATTC, most of whom said in a post-event survey that they found the experience highly useful for recruitment. We're also grateful for the role LADWP played in supporting this event's success, and to our partners at the EWDD and LATTC. Finally, the Solar Training Network has been a key collaborator (for this event and ones like it) through its mission to meet the workforce needs of the solar industry through solar training and strategic partnerships, backed by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. Together, Los Angeles stakeholders are ensuring that days like GRIDLA's Solar Career Fair reach the widest possible audience to give everyone a stake in the new green economy. We're looking forward to seeing many of the same faces during late-2017's Solar Job Fair, where we'll be connecting solar professionals and job-seekers directly to promote the best green career opportunities employers have to offer in Greater Los Angeles.