Amazon launches solar technician training course


Amazon announced it will offer pre-paid scholarships for its employees to take a solar technician training course run by StrataTech Education Group.

The Refrigeration School, Inc. (RSI) will teach the courses that will focus on PV science, the fundamentals of solar energy, and more. In March, Amazon partnered with StrataTech to offer courses in MIG welding, HVAC fundamentals, and electrical fundamentals.

The solar education pilot program began in September. Upon completion of the 10-week education course, students will have the option to continue education with RSI and enroll in the full program.

The course is offered to Amazon hourly employees as part of its “Career Choice” program. he program offers Amazon employees a variety of training and upskilling opportunities, including pre-paid college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs.

“We have intentionally created a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources, and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, over 90,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice and we’ve seen first-hand how it can transform their lives,” said Tammy Thieman, global program lead of Career Choice at Amazon.

Solar careers are outpacing the greater jobs market, and installation jobs are expected to grow 27% annually through the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 2,500 installation jobs opening each year over the next decade. Considering Amazon’s recent announcement that will lay off 10,000 employees, the solar industry may offer an attractive employment path. BLM reports the median annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers was $47,670 in May 2021.

“StrataTech is committed to helping employers upskill their workforce, and we enjoy working with partners like Amazon that understand the importance of equipping their employees with skills to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs,” said Mary Kelly, president and CEO of StrataTech.

Those looking to join the clean energy transition can also find resources for training, education, and certification with organizations such as the International Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

There are also many resources available online for those interested in learning more about photovoltaics, many of them free-of-charge. EDx offers training courses in solar energy engineering, PV technologies, solar resource assessment, decarbonization and energy transition, and more. Some courses can be pursued to earn professional certificates or “MicroMasters” degrees. Courses are taught in partnership with organizations like Harvard University, Imperial College of London, and Delft University of Technology.

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