It's Veteran's Day!!
Today is a day where we recognize those who served our country. On this day, November 11, 1918 at 11:00a.m., hostilities officially ended “between the Allied nations and Germany” during World World I. It would become a day to recognize, as President Woodrow Wilson put it, “the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory” (“History of Veterans Day,” 2015).
As of last year, 18.8 million veterans made up the U.S. population (BLS, 2020). Did you know that 9% of veterans are employed in the solar energy industry? Programs such as Solar Ready Vets provide opportunities for veterans to gain training and develop the skills needed to work in solar. These veterans learn how to install pv panels, sell, and manage teams while stationed at their home military bases. By 2017, 526 veterans graduated from the program and 52% of them found job opportunities in the industry. As mentioned by Avery Palmer, representative for the Solar Foundation, “We have long recognized that military veterans can be outstanding candidates for solar careers, based on the experience, technical knowledge and leadership skills they acquire in the Armed Forces” (Lydersen & Thill, 2019).
Each class in the Solar Ready Vet program takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete with 20 students in each class. For those who serve, this program is 100% free with no out-of-pocket expenses for the education gained. At the end of the program, military personnel are required to take the “North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Exam” to pass the class and acquire the certification needed to work in solar. This program was offered in Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base for those interested in the pilot program (“Solar Ready Vets® Pilot Program,” n.d.).
Today the program is now known as the Solar Ready Vets Network and is “funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, and follows a two track approach…the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship, and the Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative” (“Solar Ready Vets Network,” 2020).
(2015, July 20). “History of Veterans Day.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.
(2020, April 22). “Employment Situation of Veterans—2019.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/vet.pdf.
(2020). “Solar Ready Vets Network.” “The Solar Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-ready-vets/.
Lydersen, Kari & Thill, David. (2019, November 11). “Military experience provides natural transition to clean energy careers, veterans say.” Energy New Network. Retrieved from https://energynews.us/2019/11/11/midwest/military-experience-provides-natural-transition-to-clean-energy-careers-veterans-say/.
“Solar Ready Vets® Pilot Program.” Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-ready-vets-pilot-program.