Honoring Our Veterans through Jobs in Solar Energy

On Veterans Day, we honor the more than 21 million living American veterans. Here at the Department of Energy, we are honored to have the opportunity to express our gratitude to veterans of previous wars, welcome home those who have recently served, and thank the future veterans who still stand sentry for our nation.

To play our part in appreciating our service members, the Department of Energy is working hard to open doors to career opportunities for veterans in the dynamic solar industry, which now employs more than 174,000 people — more than auto and light truck manufacturing — and has been adding jobs 20 times faster than the wider economy. Already, we are proud that veterans make up more than 10 percent of the solar industry workforce.

To build on this strong trend, last year the Department of Energy launched the Solar Ready Vets pilot program to provide veterans transitioning out of the military and into civilian life with the skills they need to enter the rapidly growing solar industry. The program provides training to our service members just prior to their leaving active duty and helps prepare them for jobs as installers, inspectors, electricians, sales representatives and a number of other roles.

In addition to offering intensive, hands-on solar skills training, the program culminates with a series of interviews with some of the nation’s leading solar companies. The great news is that every Solar Ready Vets graduate has received job offers in this rapidly expanding industry.

Solar Ready Vets training programs have already been established at Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. A program at Hill Air Force Base in Utah will start early next year. President Obama announced the expansion of our efforts in April 2015, committing to 10 installations during the program’s pilot phase, with additional plans to expand the program across the country.

The Solar Ready Vets program is just one way that the Department of Energy is saying “thank you” to the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform on Veterans Day and every day.

This post was originally published on Energy.gov.

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Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall currently serves as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. She has been serving in this role as second in command at the Energy Department since October 2014.She joined the Obama Administration on day one, serving from 2009 to 2013 as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council and from 2013 to 2014 as White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control. Before joining President Obama's team, Dr. Sherwood-Randall worked at Stanford University, at Harvard University, and at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 1994 to 1996.Dr. Sherwood-Randall attended college at Harvard and then went on to graduate school at Oxford University, where she was among the very early ranks of female Rhodes Scholars. After finishing her education, she began her career working for then-Senator Joe Biden as his chief advisor on foreign and defense policy.Born and raised in California, she is married to Dr. Jeff Randall, a neurosurgeon, and they have two teenaged sons.

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