The Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) Solar Corps initiative has expanded its education partnerships to 10 technical and community colleges in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Solar Corps helps these colleges establish career pathways for students interested in working in renewable energy, one of the fastest growing job areas in the Midwest.
As the need for qualified solar professionals grows, MREA’s Solar Corps works with colleges to connect students and recent graduates with real-work experience with solar contractors, and provides those contractors the opportunity to connect with qualified employees.
“There continues to be a strong and growing demand for trained workers in the renewable energy field,” said Ellen Barlas, MREA’s Solar Workforce Development Manager. “We are immensely proud of the work being done at our partner technical and community colleges and look forward to adding to their ranks this year.”
Participating Solar Corps technical and colleges include Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Western Community College, in Iowa; Heartland Community College and Kankakee Community College, in Illinois; and Chippewa Valley Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College, Madison Area Technical College, Mid-State Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Western Technical College, in Wisconsin.
For more information about the programs offered at these colleges visit solarenergy.jobs/technical-schools.
The Midwest Solar Job Resource Center, solarenergy.jobs, is a one-stop resource connecting job seekers and other stakeholders in the Midwest renewable energy industry.
The site’s training and career resources provide those interested in working in the renewable energy industry access to the most current information about training as well as access to solar and clean energy job and internship opportunities through its interactive Job Board.
“The recruiting and hiring of qualified workers remains a priority and a challenge for solar and renewable energy companies as the market expands and grows. Having a central resource for jobs, internships, training and other industry resources provides a valuable tool for job seekers and, employers as well as other stakeholders in the industry,” said Barlas.
According to Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry, a decade of accelerated industry growth and rapid expansion of the solar jobs market has challenged the solar workforce to keep pace with demand. From 2010 to 2017, the number of American solar jobs grew by 168%, and despite temporary slowdowns, this growth is expected to continue over the long run. The majority of solar employers nationwide, across all industry sectors, continue to say they have difficulty finding and retaining qualified candidates.
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. www.midwestrenew.org.