We are preparing our students for the careers of today and tomorrow. It may seem controversial to say but the truth is not everyone needs a college degree.

Vocational Training for the Renewable Energy Industry

Martin Smith | CleanEdison

Tell us about CleanEdison and your mission.

CleanEdison is a vocational training provider, offering professional certification courses in the renewable energy fields, such as solar installation, energy auditing and green building design. With classes all over the country, CleanEdison is determined to educate America’s rising workforce for the growing industries that need them most.

How do your vocational training programs work?

Our courses are primarily geared toward professional certification, so many of our classes focus on industry specific exam preparation. CleanEdison offers a variety of course formats ranging from the classroom to online learning systems, to hands-on field training. Depending on the needs and requirements of the student, these courses are offered in a flexible format, and can usually be completed in as little as a week. After taking our classes, students are ready to sit for industry exams, and we offer them the CleanEdison pass guarantee, which means that if they don’t pass the exam on their first try, they can re-take the course at no additional cost.

Why do you feel it so important to provide vocational training in the clean energy space?

We are preparing our students for the careers of today and tomorrow. It may seem controversial to say but the truth is not everyone needs a college degree. In fact there is a surplus of college graduates clamoring for a limited number of employment opportunities that require those degrees; meanwhile there is a veritable shortage of skilled laborers. Vocational training in general is important for meeting the workforce demands of this country, but perhaps more importantly, it is the antithesis of the student debt trap. These trainings are affordable and can be completed in a fraction of the time of a typical degree, and they lead to rewarding long-term employability. The fact that they are focused on the clean energy space is just the icing on the cake, contributing to a meaningful career and a healthier planet.

What are some of the main challenges you face in your business and what big-picture challenges is CleanEdison helping to overcome?

CleanEdison is helping combat student debt by providing an alternative to the “traditional” educational route that has so many college graduates paying off student loans. In addition, graduates of our courses are helping to tackle issues like climate change and dependence on fossil fuels when they go out into the workforce as qualified clean energy professionals.

In which alternative energy fields has CleanEdison made the most impact?

Our typical student goes into one of three areas: NABCEP, BPI or RESNET, and LEED, so the areas where we’ve had the most impact are solar energy, energy auditing, and green building design and operations. However our list of course offerings is quite extensive, and includes Lean Six Sigma for advanced manufacturing, ISO, engineering exam preparation, project management professional certification, and thermography, to name a few.  

The renewable energy industry particularly Solar energy has seen explosive job growth over the last decade.   What advice and guidance would you have for an individual out there looking to enter this field?

CleanEdison has amassed a great deal of resources and expertise with regards to entering the solar workforce. We have actually just released a “Definitive Guide to Getting a Job in the Solar Industry” which tells you everything you need to know about entering this field.

What are the goals over the next five years for CleanEdison and how do you plan on accomplishing these goals?

We have noticed that a lot of community colleges are lacking the resources and infrastructure to provide important hands-on vocational training courses that are relevant to today’s workforce and tomorrow’s labor demands, so we have put together a School as a Service model that allows them to do this. With a turnkey solution that we’ve launched under the name PlatformEDU, we package our expertise and offer it under our partner schools’ brands. This includes everything from recruitment, marketing and enrollment to curriculum design and performance metrics, and it is a valuable way to painlessly incorporate new, valuable course offerings into the syllabi of existing institutions.



About Martin Smith, Marketing Associate at CleanEdison

Martin Smith is a marketing associate at CleanEdison. Originally from a California desert, he has been powered by the sun since the 1980's. He studied at Northwestern University and ESSEC Business School in Paris, where he focused on sustainable business initiatives in the hospitality space. After working in conservation tourism in India and advising hotels and restaurants in California on their efforts to 'go green,' he joined the CleanEdison team to help educate America's rising workforce in the industries that need them the most.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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