Workforce Partnerships

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK for solar workforce development

  • In 2016, job creation in the US solar industry far out-paced growth of the overall economy. The majority of solar employers express difficulty finding and retaining qualified candidates, particularly for entry-level installation jobs.

  • There is a significant opportunity for the solar industry to proactively respond to workforce needs by tapping into public funding and business support services. Building networks with community, municipal and education partners is the first step to identify and implement effective industry-led workforce solutions.

  • The workforce development system manages the long-term process of supporting regional talent development based on labor market trends.

  • Effective workforce development strategies rely on strong channels of communication among industry, education, economic development and community partners.

SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS

are collective, coordinated efforts of regional industry stakeholders to address common workforce challenges.

Goals and outcomes

  • A coordinated, cohesive industry voice to communicate labor market information, influence policy, attract federal workforce development funds

  • Better align training curriculum with workforce needs, and right-size training cohorts to match local hiring projections

  • Implement coordinated work-based learning or on-the-job training to support targeted skill development

  • Broaden the local candidate pool and improve public awareness of solar opportunities

The Business Case

  • Opportunity for solar businesses to tap into public workforce programs and externalize costs of training and hiring.

  • Aligned with long term interests of all stakeholders: employers are able to better manage current and future workforce needs and plan for long term stability. Strong relationships with local educators improves career development for students, expands potential for incumbent training, and supports a more robust local talent pipeline.

  • Provide a mechanism for ongoing feedback with education and workforce partners, and support regional capacity for adaptive management as solar markets expand and evolve.

WORK-BASED LEARNING FOR A JOB-READY SOLAR WORKFORCE

The Business Case

 Investment in high-quality hands-on training will ensure a more better qualified, more efficient workforce, lower labor costs for employers, and greater industry value for consumers. 

Mistakes by solar installers can be costly for a company, and for the industry as a whole: if improved training procedures could lead to a 1% decrease in the rate of installation call-backs, it could save the solar industry more than 10 million dollars in less than a year.

On-the-job training provides an opportunity to build out or fine tune skill sets of a team, while demonstrating to prospective employees that a company values career development. It allows companies to attract stronger job candidates, target skill development and retain quality employees.