Solar One Leads the Way for Green Job Training
By Sara Trzemzalski


Training the future workforce is not an easy task, but Solar One created several training programs that are changing people’s lives by helping them get back to work with new skills in the Green Energy Industry.

Michael Barry, Communication Manager at Solar One, handles communications, design and websites for Solar One. He will be hitting his one-year anniversary shortly and brings a strong skill set of non-profit operations and communications.

“Solar One is a non-profit green energy and sustainability organization,” Michael explained. “We have several different programs, including training programs with the goal of getting people back to work in the Green Energy Industry.”

Some of their programs include:

Here Comes Solar – this program helps install solar power, typically in affordable housing, low income neighborhoods, and co-ops. Additionally, they can act as a consultant in this area and assemble everyone they need to get involved, such as the installers and city officials, along with helping find grant money if available and providing technical analyses.

Green Design Lab – this program works with around 900 New York public schools to teach students about energy and sustainability. Students may be in middle or high school and some of their program content is spreading on a national level, which is very exciting.

Green Workforce – this is a unique training program that offers hard skills and technical training to train people in carpentry skills, HVAC skills, and solar skills that have a special focus on how these skills can be integrated within green building and operations.

The Green Workforce is one of their best training programs to help get people back to work. Solar One works with other local non-profits, who have existing workforce training programs. They usually concentrate on working with people who are underemployed, marginally employed or people who were formally employed but are struggling to re-enter the workplace. On top of this, they also help run a program designed to specifically help retain formally incarnated people who are looking to re-enter the workforce.

Again, these programs are usually working with other non-profit partners that focus on social services, but Solar One’s team provides the training portion for building operations, maintenance, green building design and other areas needed.

One of the main reasons Solar One’s training program are so successful is because they are very hands on. They have designated rooms set up where their students can build things, troubleshoot machinery, along with going on-site to work with items in their program area, such as boilers, HVAC systems or solar panels. Since the training is practical, it makes learning the hard skills easier by letting the student really get their hands dirty with real world experience and scenarios.

This year, Solar One has trained close to 400 students, but overall, they have exceeded training over 3,000 students in the Green Workforce Program alone. During training, it’s important to receive certifications within these areas, which may include: OSHA certification, multi-family building operations certification, BPI building certification, North American Board of Certified Green Energy Practitioner, along with their program certification of completion.

Altogether, Solar One offers a variety of programs with their major goal of getting their students employed after certification. One of the other main reasons why Solar One’s training stands out is because it’s free, thanks to being covered by grants and partnering with other non-profits.

Solar One is also very proactive in their local community and attributes this to one of reasons why they continue to grow and be successful. Recently, they participated in an event with other organizations that concentrate on developing job growth for green jobs in the Harlem, New York area. They have a common goal to help these communities benefit from using green energy as they are often the ones most affected by the pricing of energy.

It’s no surprise that Solar One is leading the way in training for Green Energy Industry jobs by example and the impact of their efforts will continue to benefit the New York area over time.


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