- Published: October 5, 2012
- Written by Amanda H. Miller
Salt Lake Community College has committed to training a qualified workforce for Utah’s fast-growing solar energy industry. The school recently established a Solar Photovoltaics System program that prepares students to sit for nationally recognized entry-level exams for a PV technical sales certification or PV installer certification.
The program, part of the school’s new Green Academy, provides students with high-demand skills, knowledge and experience. Utah has a rapidly-growing solar industry that’s constantly adding jobs and employers who are on the hunt for qualified candidates, said Karen Gunn, dean of the School of Professional and Economic Development.
The school has created a program that stands out from most other certification and solar training programs in Utah and even throughout the West, Gunn said. It opened its new solar photovoltaic training yard at the beginning of this school year. The yard offers students hands-on training in the solar field that they won’t get in most programs unless they take on internships or apprenticeships.
“This is the first training yard of its kind,” Gunn said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure Utah’s energy industry gets all the highly skilled green energy technicians it needs.”
Gunn said the school decided to invest in green energy and especially solar training for students because solar is a major growth industry in Utah. Adding this programming, qualifies SLCC students for well-paying jobs in their communities.
As the industry is also just in its infancy, the training program equips students to be leaders in their fields.
The solar training yard is a major part of the school’s program and Gunn said it was important to administrators to make sure the program was as practical and hands-on as possible so students would be truly competitive when they go out seeking clean energy jobs.
The solar programs, along with the school’s other 33 Green Academy programs that train students in clean energy management, efficiency audits and other realms of the industry, have been exceedingly popular with high enrollment figures.