Trainees overcome past barriers to employment and eagerly get skills for solar workforce

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February 26, 2018

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People with various types of bodies stand on a roof where a ladder has been positioned
With the opportunity for paid training over multiple weeks, LA:Rise participants are poised to become entry-level solar workers.

LA:RISE is giving Angelenos who have experienced past difficulties in the labor market, homelessness, and imprisonment a bright new future, and GRID Alternatives is playing a part in the work for the first time. We recently met our LA:RISE cohort of trainees in the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles warehouse: individuals from a multitude of racial backgrounds, socioeconomic situations, and genders. What they have in common is a pathway: from unemployment, to transitional employment, to permanent employment. It's a goal that the LA:RISE initiative aims to meet through training that puts good jobs in reach.

We partner jointly with the LA:RISE's team at the City and County of Los Angeles' Workforce Development System (WDS) and the Coalition for Responsibility Community Development; together, we're showing more than half a dozen trainees that hard work pays off in the booming solar industry. Los Angeles County's solar workforce, which is over 16,000 strong and has been thriving for years during the statewide hiring explosion, represents a powerful opportunity for individuals who have had high barriers to employment in the past. The LA:RISE cohort has already spent more than a week in our warehouse, learning about supply chain and equipment needs of a working solar business. They've been on rooftops in Los Angeles and Orange County, too, benefitting from the "classroom on the roof" setting to master solar installation.

While the skills needed to be a solar professional are continuously evolving, and no one training experience is going to provide every skill, we know that the individuals training with us this winter are getting a critical footing in an industry where they could have long-term aspirations. On a recent training day in Anaheim, one of our LA:RISE trainees remarked that he planned to keep on coming back to volunteer on installs long after he got an anticipated paid position in solar. He'll continue his training with us four days a week for the next month, all while receiving support services from the initiative.

We encourage you to learn more about the transformative work LA:RISE, LAEWDD, and Los Angeles partners like GRID Alternatives are doing at http://ewddlacity.com/index.php/employment-services/la-rise.