GRID Alternatives has a successful workforce development model that includes a combination of fellowship and internship programs, as well as volunteer and job training programs, which create a vast number of opportunities for many who come through its doors. One such success story is Outreach Coordinator Tracy Ruiz.
Tracy first came to GRID in June of 2015. She learned about GRID through our community partner Habitat for Humanity, where she was working as a development coordinator. She was living in Bakersfield but had a desire to move to Southern California. She learned about an opportunity with GRID and found out about a position in the Outreach Department. She applied for a SolarCorps Fellowship position, which is a 13-month program that gives candidates the opportunity to gain experience in the solar industry. Although she did not have any knowledge of solar prior to GRID, she had a strong desire to continue working in the nonprofit sector. “What piqued my interest about working at GRID was the ability it gave me to help homeowners in disadvantaged communities have access to clean renewable energy resources that wouldn’t otherwise afford it,” said Tracy.
Tracy’s journey at GRID started as a SolarCorps Outreach Fellow, and today she currently serves as an Outreach Coordinator. She shared that what she enjoys most about her job is helping her clients by providing resources that enables them to save money (up to 90 percent) on their energy bills. She said she loves educating the local communities about energy efficiency and GRID’s Energy for All Program. She also equips her clients with the tools needed to help make the application process go smoothly and assists with any concerns and questions they may have.
Tracy recalls one of her most memorable experiences since working at GRID is when she assisted a homeowner from Perris, California who called every year to see if she qualified. Finally in 2017, Tracy was able to successfully qualify the homeowner for a no cost solar system. The client was the sole provider for her family of three, including one child and her disabled husband. The savings greatly helped the family reduce their household expenses. Tracy was very happy to be able to assist them.
Tracy's advice to future interns and SolarCorps fellows is; “GRID has a lot of different positions within the organization, so branch out and gain as much knowledge as possible.” At 25 years of age, Tracy is already well traveled. She has visited Spain, Thailand, Guatemala, England and Ireland. Her goal is to have traveled to all continents by the age of 30 and to become a philanthropist. Her favorite quote is, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Learn more about GRID's internship opportunities and SolarCorps program and apply at: gridalternatives.org/get-involved/careers.
Special thank you to the supporters of our SolarCorps Fellowship Program: The SolarCorps Program is part of the AmeriCorps network of programs. SolarCorps is made possible with funding support from AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement.