New ‘Wisconsin Solar Corps’ Program to Train Workers for Growing Industry
Integrating workforce development into real world installations for people who need it most.
Solar installer is the fastest growing job in eight US states and one of the top 10 fastest growing jobs in the US. More than 3,000 of those jobs are in Wisconsin, and there is a growing need for workers. To address this need, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), in partnership with four of the Wisconsin Technical College System’s leading solar training programs, has launched an effort to expand the state’s solar workforce.
The Wisconsin Solar Corps is a workforce development partnership that facilitates collaboration between training programs, industry stakeholders, jurisdictions and solar contractors to support local career placement in the solar industry. The initiative will improve workforce readiness in Wisconsin with replication of successful strategies neighboring states.
Solar workforce efforts in Wisconsin now have the support of the state’s top official. “We are proud of the solar job growth in Wisconsin. It solidifies our commitment to getting our state on track for a future driven by renewable energy that will make Wisconsin a stronger, better place to live, work, and play,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. “We look forward to continuing our promise to build a clean economy that incentivizes energy innovation, diversifies Wisconsin jobs and energy sources, and promotes efficiency, affordability, and accessibility in clean energy production.”
This vision is particularly important to Wisconsin Technical College programs that are training the next generation of solar workers. “This grant is allowing our team of Chippewa Valley Technical College instructors and over 50 students participating in solar training, access to best practices from three other outstanding solar training schools in Wisconsin,” Adam Wehling, Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation.
As Part of the Solar Corps effort, the MREA will facilitate 66 paid internships for newly trained professionals and provide on-site advanced training on ten high visibility, high impact solar projects in Wisconsin communities. Currently, the MREA is working with Mid-State Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Madison College, and Chippewa Valley Technical College and completed the first, 10 student internships.
Nick Hylla, the Executive Director of the MREA is impressed with the current level of hiring in the Wisconsin solar industry. “The MREA has been training solar professionals since 1991 and we currently provide training to more than 1,000 individuals each year. We’ve never seen employment demand as high as it is currently and only expect the demand to increase. Pretty much every contractor is looking to hire.”
For more information about Wisconsin Solar Corps visit www.MidwestRenew.org/SolarCorps.