Following six weeks of training, 18 District of Columbia Housing Authority customers graduated from a solar panel training program—all certified rising stars with the possibility for future employment in the growing field of solar energy.

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.

“It is a pleasure to work with people that are willing to work, who are prepared and most important, are positive,” said Thomas Jones, a contractor with DCHA on the Parkway Overlook project, to the graduates. “While it was fun, it was also serious.”

The trainees first few days resulted in getting OSHA Safety Certifications. They then learned the basics of how solar energy works. Then they moved on to installation techniques, positioning and racketing of panels, wiring to the grid, how to build and walk on a roof, and more.

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.

“Go into your interviews with the perspective that you are ahead of most people,” said Mark Bergel, executive director of A Wider Circle, who came back to the community with suits and workplace attire for the graduates to make sure they were ready for interviews and full-time jobs.

Several of the graduates hope to get a permanent position with the Parkway Overlook contractors at the end of the program, but also have the skills and certification to find another job. There is also a 12-week program that offers more intensive training this fall where the graduates were encouraged to enroll (click here to apply).

“There is a guaranteed solar job for you,” said Henry Neoman of Neo LLC, who commended the graduates hard work and dedication. “There are four companies I know that have 70, 80 jobs.”

Larry Williams, director of DCHA’s Office of Resident Services, said, “DCHA works to promote economic opportunity for our customers, as well as for the greater community. We are constantly looking to provide these types of professional development trainings that lead directly to paid employment and personal advancement for our customers. We are thankful for this partnership with Neo LLC and A Wider Circle for providing a perfect example of this kind of opportunity.”

For more information on the training programs available at Frederick Douglas Community Center, contact Stephen Baker at (202) 321-2510. For other training programs offered at the Southwest Family Enhancement and Career Center, call (202) 645-5023.



Last modified: 9/6/2018 2:50:49 PM