St. Petersburg College aims to fill the need for more certified solar workers

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — St. Petersburg College (SPC) is working to fill the need for more certified solar workers in the Tampa Bay Area.

SPC partners with the Florida Solar Energy Center for the project, the very first solar energy apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Labor Department.

“Our solar technician program teaches photovoltaic system design, installation and maintenance, aiming to train and produce highly skilled and certified solar energy technicians,” Christopher Cain with SPC said.

The solar energy workload is growing and so is the need for more certified solar workers. The Solar Energy Technician Apprenticeship aims to fill the gap and put graduates in a solid position to succeed.

Cain said the program will help students, employers and clients locally.

“In the [Tampa] Bay area, we want to facilitate that and be a training area where we can provide that training and give them that certification and create that pathway,” Cain said.

Cain said this is a major step in the right direction. He explained the program is unique because students get classroom training and hands-on experience working in the field.

“We provide a pathway so not only can they break into the industry, but get trained to get on-the-job training by hooking up with an employer,” Cain said.

Cain said the goal is for students to graduate with a NABCEP certification—which stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. He explained it’s a well-respected and recognized certification in the solar energy field. 

The program is funded by the Expansion of Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Grant in association with Seminole State College. ​

Cain said the grant money will be used to support and sustain the program’s needs.

If you are an employer interested in this program, click here.

If you are an employee, click here.

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