SPI 15 - New Solar Career Mapping Tool Launched by IREC at Solar Power International

It explores an expanding universe of solar-energy occupations.

(Anaheim, CA) - A new, highly interactive Solar Career Map launched yesterday by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is designed for workforce professionals, educators, policymakers and job seekers. It explores an expanding universe of solar-energy occupations, describing diverse jobs across the industry, charting possible progression between them, and identifying the high-quality training necessary to do them well.

Central to the new career mapping tool is a series of compelling videos with solar instructors and other professionals who describe jobs, skills, credentials and education across a variety of solar careers.

The result of extensive national expert input and close review by partners in industry and education, the interactive platform offers a broad vision of the solar industry, from manufacturing and design to installation and operations.

The Solar Career Map and videos are available at www.irecsolarcareermap.org.

As national administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), IREC convened a national working group of solar experts to develop the original career mapping tool for the industry in 2011. Designed to demonstrate the breadth of the industry and its critical occupations, as well as the necessity for high quality solar training in a variety of related fields, the Solar Career Map quickly became a popular tool for the USDOE SunShot Initiative and a model for other clean energy sectors.

"President Obama has called for the training of 75,000 solar workers by 2020. This map helps point us in the right direction to do so," says Sarah White, Ph.D., chair of the National Working Group on Solar Career Pathways, and the lead on developing both the original and updated maps. "It demonstrates that a robust domestic solar industry will rely on a tremendous variety of workers, with a breathtaking range of skills."

"The solar industry has evolved tremendously in recent years - and change is only speeding up," adds IREC's Joe Sarubbi, project manager for the SITN. "The quality of this mapping tool has been one constant in driving attention to the need for quality training at every level. Today's Solar Career Map is an exciting, updated, interactive tool."

High-quality work and high-quality jobs are critical to a robust, reliable solar industry that builds consumer confidence. While many people only of roof-top installations when considering solar energy jobs, this tool prompts instructors, policymakers, and job seekers to consider a range of occupations that are accessible to workers with a wide variety of skills and experience. And by describing the demands of an entire value chain, the tool builds a strong case for investing in better solar skill delivery.

About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for renewable energy and energy efficiency training providers and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. Visit www.irecusa.org.

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