Educator Hails Solar Futures Partnership

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May 25, 2018

Blaine Boyer is an educator at Rancho Vista High School, a continuation school in Temecula, and an active partner of GRID Alternatives. In 2012 Blaine was approached by the principal concerning a grant the school had received and wanted to use for a special curriculum focusing on solar energy. Blaine was qualified to instruct in the fields of general science and biology, but needed to build knowledge about solar to ensure success in the classroom.

Blaine met an acquaintance while shopping one day who happened to mention how GRID specializes in free solar installation training. He completed some initial research, then contacted Cindy Corrales, GRID’s Workforce & Volunteer Manager. Cindy encouraged Blaine to begin learning about solar by first becoming a GRID volunteer.

He participated in his first GRID installation during the summer of 2013 in Lake Elsinore. He returned to his school, shared information about GRID to his students and built the training into his lesson plan. Blain continued to pursue solar as a learning experience by speaking with his principal and securing $1,000 to assist him with his program. The following year, students were able to attend on-the-job training through GRID. The Solar Installation Supervisors (SIS) at GRID reinforced Blaine’s classroom training through hand’s-on experience. In 2014, Blaine received another grant for $5,000, which enabled him to acquire more tools. When GRID expanded its Solar Futures program, he built the training into his classroom activities. Later, the program’s curriculum was expanded to “Advanced Solar”. His class sizes averaged 4 to 8 kids per class, totaling approximately 60-80 students annually.

At the time, Blaine explained that Rancho Vista was the only continuation school in the area to offer solar technology education. Many of the students that he instructs are considered at-risk youth and a large percent opt for trade schools or work instead of college. Solar Futures provides these students the expertise needed to pursue a rewarding career in a growing industry. “The students really enjoy working with their hands. Approximately 50 percent of the graduates end up having an interest in the field of solar after going through the training,” said Blaine. “It also gets them out of the classroom. GRID has a great team of talented people who really engage students. They enjoy the challenge that GRID’s Solar Futures offers.”

Rancho Vista’s program has primarily attracted young men until recently. Blaine said that he wants to attract more female participation in the program. GRID works to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry by providing pathways to careers in solar to women. Blaine is also interested in promoting an inclusive workforce commenting that he recently had two young women successfully complete his program.

Blaine explained that solar is an emerging technology but is growing fast and will explode in the future. “GRID is the premier organization that offers valuable skillsets necessary for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the solar industry,” Blaine said. “I am one of GRID’s biggest advocates. I have yet to see any organization where every aspect is exceptional and helpful. GRID teaches kids how to do it the right way, with no shortcuts. It has been a blessing to be able to team up with GRID and provide these valuable resources to my students. Everyone has been great to work with.”

Blaine plans to retire later this year. He has been married 45 years, has two daughters and four grandchildren. “I have an 18-acre farm on the outskirts of Temecula and I look forward to being able to spend more time with the family and do some traveling,” said Blaine.

Learn more about Solar Futures or sign up to receive free hands-on job training that will propel you into a viable career in the solar industry.