Since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 150,000 jobs nationwide, with over 76,000 solar jobs existing in California alone. For those hit hardest by economic and environmental injustice, the solar industry can offer long-term careers with opportunities for advancement. But it can be difficult for people from marginalized communities to enter the solar industry, which remains 73 percent white and 74 percent male, according to the 2019 Solar Industry Diversity Study. Through programs like the 5th Annual Solar Industry Career Fair, GRID Alternatives increases diversity and equity in the solar industry by connecting trainees from underrepresented communities directly to solar employers.
Thanks to our event sponsor, the L.A. Department of Water and Power, and event partners, Coalition for Responsible Community Development and L.A. Trade-Tech, GRID GLA was able to host our Solar Industry Career Fair for the fifth year in a row! This year, we connected over 150 attendees with more than fifteen employers and resource organizations, who unanimously agreed in exit surveys that the fair was a good source of job candidates. This year's exhibitors included long-term partners like L.A. Solar Group, O&M Solar, and IBEW Local 11, as well as newcomers like Altair Solar and RenewableUSA.
Career Fair attendees included GRID’s own job trainees, who are preparing for solar careers through Youth Internships, SolarCorps Fellowships, and the Pacoima Job Training Cohort. As in previous years, many of this year’s attendees came through organizations like Homeboy Industries, L.A. Conservation Corps, and Conservation Corps Long Beach, and educational institutions like East L.A. Skills Center, Abram Friedman Occupational Center, Trade-Tech, and Santa Monica College.
By connecting people of color, formerly incarcerated people, opportunity youth, and women to employment opportunities in the solar industry, we can create a virtuous cycle in which our own trainees create more opportunities for people with similar backgrounds. If you passed by the O&M Solar table at the Career Fair, you most likely caught a firm handshake and warm smile from O&M Founder and CEO, Kenneth Wells. When he started volunteering at GRID nearly ten years ago, Kenneth was one of GLA’s first formerly-incarcerated trainees. Now that he owns his own solar company, Kenneth pays it forward by hiring other GRID trainees – including our Solar Jobs Second Chances Intern, Demetrius Bloodsaw.
This autumn, GRID looks forward to hosting the 2019 Solar Job Fair, where we will continue connecting our volunteers and trainees to the best green job opportunities L.A. has to offer! If you’re interested in tabling the Solar Job Fair as an employer or attending as a jobseeker, please contact our volunteering team for the Greater Los Angeles region.