Last week, the GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic office was thrilled to host a job training group from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), and provide a week of hands-on learning experience about the solar industry. The LAYC is a non-profit organization that provides multi-cultural and comprehensive programming for a diverse youth population.
The young men who joined our office for a week were from a smaller subset of the LAYC, the Montgomery County Conservations Corps. Jimmy Roberts, who has worked for the Maryland County Conservation Corps for over three years, describes it as a “GED and workforce program,” working to help young men and women obtain their GEDs while preparing them for being competitive in the job market. "You're helping young men and women. You're helping us turn them into productive members of society to where they can leave school and go in and get a job,” Jimmy said of the Conservation Corps’ partnership with GRID Alternatives, “It's great to have people like that on our side."
Six youth enjoyed a week of hands-on office and field activities serving as an introduction to the solar industry. They learned about solar job pathways, the electricity behind installing solar panels, contacting potential homeowners, and safety procedures. In the warehouse, they completed a wire stripping workshop and a mock install. On site, job trainees participated in their first residential solar installation on a Northeast, DC home.
Many people in the LAYC program did not necessarily thrive in classroom-style education. “It’s gotta be hands-on,” says Shawn, a job trainee, “My favorite part of this week was putting the beams together and going on the roof.” Each job trainee liked something different; Greg enjoyed learning how to put the solar panels up, while Anthony preferred working in the warehouse. GRID Alternatives seeks to provide hands-on solar power training by partnering with groups like the LAYC, who have similar goals. Jimmy says, “One of the things that makes our job one, easier, and two, more productive, is working with groups like GRID Alternatives."
The entire group has been invited to continue volunteering with GRID and we hope that they continue to explore solar career opportunities. The Mid-Atlantic office is looking forward to hosting another LAYC group later in May!