Facebook Pixel

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee launches free Solar Installer Training Program

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is expanding its list of training programs and entering the clean technology space. In partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Nashville Electric Service, Accenture, Grid Alternatives and General Motors, the Solar Installer Training Program will allow participants to have access to a rapidly-growing, exciting industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 51% growth in solar installer jobs between 2020 and 2030. 

“This training presents an excellent opportunity for people looking to enter the industry and build a successful career. Pursuing a career as a solar panel installer means a competitive salary, continuous learning and job security,” said Dr. Karl Wendt, Goodwill’s Career and Technical Academy Director.

The training is part of The Goodwill CleanTech Accelerator, a national program co-designed by Goodwill Industries International and Accenture, which will provide clean tech skilling and job placement for more than 7,000 people across the U.S. for jobs involving solar and storage, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and energy efficiency. 

Throughout the free, four-week training, participants learn the fundamentals of solar installation. The program also includes a mobile training facility equipped with solar technology that will allow for education and awareness in communities in middle Tennessee. 

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee held a graduation ceremony for its inaugural class February 9. Seven Nashville area adults received certifications for Installer Basics Training 120, OSHA 10, CPR, and Construction Basics. 

One of the graduates, 25-year-old Nashville native Antonio Walker, said the training has provided him lifelong skills that he is excited to use in the clean technology industry. 

“I never imagined I’d be learning how to install solar panels, and I didn’t even know what they were until this training,” Walker said. “It’s really amazing, the instructors have taught us so much in a three-week span. I want to get into solar sales and move up the ladder and this will help me do that.”

While the majority of the course is focused on solar installation, Goodwill career experts provide participants with employability skills, such as resume writing and interview preparation. Walker said he appreciates that the course promotes necessary workplace skills, such as being on time, communication, teamwork and showing up with a positive attitude. 

Walker learned about the training from his mother, Montoya Martin, who is a longtime supporter of Goodwill’s mission and came across the training on Indeed. 

“I’m always telling people about all the things Goodwill offers, like job preparation and training programs,” Martin said. “More people in the community need to know Goodwill is here to help them.”

Martin said she’s incredibly proud of her son for pushing himself outside of his comfort zone and learning new skills that will help him excel in life. 

Walker said he would go home at the end of each training session and share what he learned with his mother, sisters and aunt who tell him daily how proud they are of him. 

“I send them pictures every day and they love it, it almost brings me to tears,” Walker said. “It makes me emotional because I never imagined I’d be doing something like this, and I’m around such great people, it’s amazing.”

The program is part of Goodwill’s mission as a local non-profit to change lives through education, training and employment. It’s one of the many training and educational programs Goodwill offers to community members at no cost by using the revenue from its retail stores across middle and west Tennessee.

Construction and solar industry experts from Goodwill and Grid Alternatives, based in Sacramento, instruct the training. Participants spend the majority of the course doing hands-on work and demonstrations. They spend about 30% of their time in a classroom setting. 

The training takes place in a 10,000 square-foot facility in the heart of downtown Nashville. The building, located at 1000 Herman Street, is just feet from Goodwill’s headquarters and sits conveniently on a WeGo transit line. 

During the course, participants have access to the technology and tools used for solar installation, including extension ladders and a full-sized roof that provides real-world installation training experiences. Instructors cover topics such as safety, installing conduits, mounting panels, installing inverters, disconnecting boxes, and electrical work. The training is designed to create experiences that prepare clients for real-world installation challenges.

“We learn the best by doing the work,” Wendt said. “By being exposed to the different components of a job site, participants will get to navigate challenges, which will allow them to feel confident and comfortable doing the work after completing the training.”

Participants of the program have the opportunity to meet with employers and solar industry experts during and after the course. 

Goodwill hopes to continue to grow partnerships with companies interested in clean technology, such as roofing, construction and material providers, that will ultimately benefit from the workforce the program is working to create.

No Comments

Post A Comment