Obama pushes to train veterans for solar power

Obama pushes to train veterans for solar power
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The Obama administration is aiming to train 75,000 workers — many of them military veterans — for the solar power industry.
 
The goal is a 50 percent increase from President Obama’s last commitment on solar training, announced last May.
 
Obama will announce the goal along with efforts to achieve it Friday at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the White House said.
 

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A major part of the initiative will be programs to attract outgoing military personnel and veterans into solar training, including community college programs.
 
The Energy Department’s Solar Ready Vets program is a key component, the White House said in a fact sheet.

"Programs like DOE’s Solar Ready Vets achieve many important goals: creating jobs, bolstering energy security, cutting carbon pollution and combating climate change," Dan Utech, a top energy and climate change adviser to Obama, told reporters Friday.

The training initiative will be launched in coordination with the Defense Department at 10 military bases.
 
Three bases have already started a pilot program for solar training, and the Utah base where Obama will speak will become the forth, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the deputy secretary of Energy, told reporters. Six more bases will be announced in the coming months.

"This Solar Ready Vets program aims to prepare participating military personnel for careers at solar photovoltaic system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other solar related occupations once they transition from military service," Sherwood-Randall said.

The training classes last four to six weeks and would take place in the final months of a service member's time at the base.
 
The Veterans Affairs Department will also contribute to the goal by encouraging states to approve solar workforce training for GI Bill benefits.
 
The Labor Department has a role to play as well, the White House said. That agency will coordinate with the military to get more information to outgoing service members about the solar industry during their last few months in the service.

— Updated at 11:03 a.m.