A father of five, Eduardo Huerta was out of work for 13 months due to a car accident. Today he's aiming for a new career in solar.
Eduardo worked in the contruction industry as a stucco plasterer for more than a decade until taking a medical leave in June 2008 due to the car accident. When Eduardo was ready to return to work, he was unable to get his job back due to the economic downturn.
Eduardo became interested in a career in solar installation because he needed to find a good job and wanted to change his career to "help himself, his family, and his larger community." With help from Solar Sonoma County, Eduardo is now training to become a certified solar installer, and is volunteering with GRID Alternatives toget hands-on experience actually installing solar electric systems on homes.
"Right now, I'm learning. If I want to learn with someone else then I need to pay or if I work with a company then I'm more nervous because I don't know the job yet, so what GRID Alternatives is doing is great," said Eduardo about the experience he is obtaining by working on residential solar electric installations with GRID Alternatives.
Eduardo is very clear that he is not only looking for a personal career path in solar energy, but he's also looking for something that he can share with both his teenage son and the larger community, particularly the local Hispanic community.
"The important thing for me is to learn, because I'd like to be part of the change for the community," he said, "If I can find out the right way to talk to the community, then we can start teaching and telling the youngest about this with the promise that we want to raise everyone up. We need to give people the information about solar, and about the appropriateness of solar energy for homes."
Once Eduardo has completed his training and certification and secured steady employment he plans to mentor future scholarship candidates at Solar Sonoma County as a volunteer and to encourage others in the Hispanic community to pursue solar job training or solar energy for their homes.
"Hay un dicho en México, Me gusta compartir el pastel. No me gusta comermelo solo. El pastel es el trabajo y las piezas del pastel sn como compartir el trabajo con los demás," said Eduardo. (English Translation: There is a saying in Mexico, I like to share the cake. I hate to eat it alone. The cake is the work and the pieces of cake are like sharing the work with others.)
Eduardo believes everyone needs to work together if we're going to make big changes with solar energy and is glad to see that happening at GRID Alternatives.
Story update: As of 2010 Eduardo Huerta accepted full time employment with Real Goods Solar and is grateful and excited to be on this new career path. We wish Eduardo much success!