It’s getting easier to be green and earning greenbacks.
The College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus is now offering a Solar Technician Certificate program that meets the need of a growing industry.
“In January 2011, there was a survey done of the solar industry nationwide and more than 50% of all those firms that were surveyed expect to add jobs over the next year,” said Dr. Dena Maloney, Vice President of Canyon Country campus Economic Development.
She says the industry anticipates a 26 percent increase in the solar industry’s workforce in the next year, adding 50 thousand new jobs nationwide.
“Among those that are going to be fastest growing are photovoltaic installers, which is what we are teaching at the Canyon Country campus,” Maloney said.
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Certificate classes started August 22 in the new Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC). The building offers approximately 15,600-square-feet of workshop and laboratory space for the Solar Technology classes and for other Career Technical Education (CTE) training.
The first Solar Technician certification class had such a long wait list they added a second class. Seventy students are now in training.
“Usually it takes a little while to ramp up when you start something new. But not this one,” said Maloney.
Officials say the 13-unit program will prepare students to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar Thermal Installer certification.
Maloney says COC works with industry advisory groups for all of their career technical education programs. Solar, she says, has been one of those programs that have had a lot of engagement from industry.
“They want people with the skill sets that are going to be helpful to the companies and they want to communicate those skill sets to us so we make sure we train to those,” Maloney said.
College officials say the certification program can be completed in 2-3 semesters. The next class is being offered in the spring.
For more information on the Solar Technician program, click here .