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Green Building News

Solar Living Institute’s Green Collar Juggernaut

Its solar technology workshops are especially popular nowadays, although SLI might eventually expand its training programs to include other green building disciplines

Budding green These youths, from the San Francisco Bay Area city of Richmond, were among the participants in a green jobs training program that Solar Living Institute presents four times a year. The training for these young people was offered in collaboration with Solar Richmond, a local training program; Grid Alternatives, which provides solar installation services for low-income households; and RichmondBUILD, a training and job placement program.
Image Credit: Solar Living Institute

This is a busy time for those in the green-job education business, whether they offer green-career guidance seminars, technical training programs, certification prep classes, or a combination of related services.

And it is going to get busier.

A story recently published by general-interest magazine Suite focused on a green-jobs training program designed for at-risk youths in Richmond, California. The program is co-presented four times a year by Solar Richmond, a training program; Grid Alternatives, which provides solar installation services for low-income households; RichmondBUILD, a training and job placement program; and Solar Living Institute, a nonprofit that provides green-career guidance seminars and technical workshops in several ecological disciplines.

Responding to the market

But the article also highlights how Solar Living Institute – established in 1996 by John Schaeffer, founder of green-products retailer Real Goods, and based in Hopland, California – could face substantially growing demand for its technical training services. Suite 101 cites University of California at Berkeley estimates that the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 will by itself lead to the creation of 83,000 green jobs by 2010.

SLI’s most popular workshops at the moment are those focused on solar technology, although Orion Walker, the organization’s green career programs and events manager, told GBA that SLI is looking to add training programs focused on weatherization and other structural improvements that can boost energy efficiency in existing and future buildings.

SLI is of course also looking for ways to participate in enterprises driven by the economic stimulus plan. One project of that nature already in the offing, Walker says, will involve a partnership with another organization (SLI is not yet at liberty to disclose its name) that will require the organization to provide custom green-tech training to electricians and other types of contractors.

Because it is still early in the stimulus rollout, though, SLI is staying alert to further opportunities. “We’re like everybody else, scrambling to figure out where they are and how to apply for them,” Walker says.


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