Multi-southeast-state coalition will accelerate solar industry workforce development;
Southface “Green Jobs Training Center” to play a leading role

Led by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, six southern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will join together to create a “Southern Regional Resource and Training Program” to train a robust workforce in the installation of solar technologies for the burgeoning solar industry. Southface will deliver solar installation training through its new Green Jobs Training Center, and will serve on the program’s advisory board.

The goal of these regional training programs of which there are nine in the U.S., each funded through a forthcoming grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for Solar Workforce Development, is to accelerate market adoption for solar technologies. This will be accomplished through training workers to perform high-quality solar installations, resulting in clear and early successes for the solar industry. Long-term jobs that cannot be exported will also come from developing workers skilled in the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays, and solar heating and cooling (SHC) systems.

Dennis Creech, executive director of Southface explains, “We are very proud to be able to partner with FSEC to assure the success of this landmark solar installation training program. Our Green Jobs Training Center team looks forward to working closely with FSEC on outreach, regional trainings, development of curricula, industry partnerships and program evaluation to provide valuable new solar workforce skills throughout the Southeast.”

Said Dr. David Block, director emeritus of the southeastern program’s lead organization, the Florida Solar Energy Center, “We are very pleased to able to offer solar training programs through our partners in the South. Together, we look forward to creating a state-of-the-art, industry-recognized alternative energy training capability for the region, one that can enhance our economic development efforts and that prepares us to meet the current and future employment demands of the solar industry.”

The Southface Green Jobs Training Center is based in Atlanta and provides weatherization skills training to 23 Georgia agencies. Southface expects to begin solar installation training as part of the Southern Regional Resource and Training Program in early 2010.