Folsom, Calif.-based 8minutenergy Renewables LLC, an independent solar PV developer, has formed a private-public partnership with the Calipatria Unified School District in Imperial Valley, Calif., to create a renewable energy vocational program (REV program) to train high school graduates for careers in the solar sector.
According to the company, the Imperial Valley currently suffers from a 28% to 30% unemployment rate, the highest in California and nearly three times that of the national average. However, the region's abundant sunshine and suitable land make it ideal for developing solar power.
The agreement with the district calls for 8minutenergy to provide input on the development of the REV program, including information about the skills, qualifications and training that solar developers will need in future employees. It will provide materials that support hands-on vocational training for students, as well as guest lectures and coordination for student visits to its solar PV power generation facilities in the Imperial Valley.
The REV Program will take about a year to complete, and graduates will receive a certificate upon meeting the program's requirements. Additionally, 8minutenergy will work closely with local companies and unions in the renewable energy industry to encourage the hiring of graduates from the REV Program for jobs as engineers, installers, maintenance staff and other positions.