For many veterans, finding work after leaving the military can be a struggle. Some employers can be hesitant to hire veterans due to negative stereotypes. Fortune looked at why this is, and found that one in three employers considers post-traumatic stress disorder to be an impediment to hiring veterans.
This is such a serious issue that Michelle Obama has made veteran employment one of her signature causes.
The solar industry loves hiring veterans
The solar industry has grown by over 123% since 2010 and now employs over 208,000 people. That’s more than the oil and gas industry combined! A large portion of the workforce is comprised of veterans.
They actually make up 8.1% of the solar workforce, which is higher than most other industries. Veterans make excellent candidates for the solar industry since they are disciplined, motivated, and technically savvy.
President Obama has a stated goal of employing 50,000 veterans in the solar industry by 2020. But how exactly does he plan to achieve this?
Enter the Solar Ready Vets program
The Solar Ready Vets program is part of the SunShot Initiative, which is operated by the Department of Energy. The goal of the initiative is to make solar cost competitive with other forms of energy by 2020. A key part of this goal is a highly trained workforce.
The Solar Ready Vets program has recently expanded and now operates on 10 military bases throughout the country. The program provides transitioning service members with solar training and employment opportunities. All aspects of the solar industry are covered throughout the four to six week course, which includes hands-on training installing a solar system. The course even helps students prepare resumes and set up interviews!
Thanks to grants by the Department of Energy, there is no cost to the students or to the military bases.
Toward the end of the course, students take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners exam. This is the most widely recognized certification available. Students who complete the program are highly competitive candidates for jobs as solar installers, sales representatives, and system inspectors, as well as other solar-related roles.