Over six weeks of training, 18 District of Columbia Housing Authority customers will learn about solar energy, how to install panels on rooftops, and be fully certified to do the work.

The solar panel training program has been blazing at the Frederick Douglas Community Center thanks to a Section 3 agreement with Neo LLC, a solar energy installation company, and MCNBuild/Southway, a contractor at Parkway Overlook, which is being rehabilitated and will include a full solar array.

The trainees first few days resulted in getting OSHA Safety Certifications. Then they moved on to solar energy, installation techniques, how to build and walk on a roof, and more.

Howard Moore, Jr., one of the trainees said he learned that the sun can power the earth for a year within an hour. He learned the steps of installing panels on the roof, the importance of their positioning and racketing, wiring it all up to feed into the electricity grid, how it converts energy to households, and doing proper housing assessment to see if solar is the best fit for the owner.

“I think the future prospects of it ares broad. I think I can do a whole lot just having the certification. Solar is the wave of the future. I think I can benefit from that,” Moore said. “There is a lot of advancement and opportunity in the solar industry. I wanted to take advantage of that. The longevity would be prosperous for me.”

One trainee, Eddie Bishop, Jr., said he signed up for the program after seeing people walking out of the Frederick Douglas Community.

“The instructors are very on point with their situation. This is not a game,” said Bishop, who also likes the wide variety of ages in his group, “so some can learn from the others.”

Bishop, a former Marine, said he hopes to get a permanent position with the Parkway Overlook contractors at the end of the program, but said with the certification and training, he knows he can use the skills to find another job.

Moore agreed and said he and the other trainees have a leg up on the competition.

“I think it is good that they have three different contractors. The people who take advantage of coming to the program, they have a physical application, the interview, but they are also working” with the contractors in the training program, Moore said. “You can show your promptness and what type of person you are. Those employees will see you personally.”

A Wider Circle’s workforce development team also is working with the trainees to build solid resumes and interview skills. Trainees receive a stipend while they participate in the program.

“I already have experience in construction; I just wanted to further it,” said Tavon Barnes, another trainee with four years of experience. “I’m just in training for solar. I’m trying to get into a nice company that I hope I can retire from.”

Moore said he appreciated that the training is happening in his community and helping people to be job ready.

“By having [the training and center] there, it is a big step to those in the community,” Moore said.

Bishop agreed and said he liked that DCHA did “outreach to the community that is in the area. It gives everyone an opportunity…Once the opportunity is here you can take advantage of it.”

The trainees will graduate from the program in August.

The next training program at Frederick Douglas Community Center will be the Construction Management Training Program, which trains individuals to work at the Frederick Douglas Bridge project. The program starts in September. For more information on enrolling contact Stephen Baker at (202) 321-2510.


Last modified: 8/14/2018 1:25:40 PM