Jason Shaw has worked as a journeyman electrician for the last 17 years; the last three involving the installation of energy management systems. When construction jobs slowed down in early 2009, Jason lost his job and decided to look at other options. A counselor with Texas Workforce Solutions pointed him to a “Green Job” workshop where he met Cathy Redson, one of our ImagineSolar Career School instructors. It wasn’t long before Jason was enrolled in PV321 and PV320, and he will soon take PV330 in preparation for the September NABCEP PV Installer Certification Exam.
Jason’s connection to ImagineSolar goes back several years as he met our President and CEO, Michael Kuhn, when Michael was a solar PV instructor at Austin Community College (ACC). Michael also served as the advisor for the Renewable Energy Student Association (RESA) which Jason now co-chairs. Jason took the entry-level solar PV course at ACC and realized that he would need experience on two solar PV installation projects in order to qualify to take the NABCEP Exam. Fortunately, he met NABCEP’s Executive Director, Erzra Auerbach, at an event in Austin and learned about the Alternative Experience Pathways (for journeyman electricians) program that ImagineSolar is piloting. Not only is Jason part of this groundbreaking pilot program, he is also getting his ImagineSolar training for free as he qualified for the C-NEST program.
Jason has been the most impressed with the hands-on experience in ImagineSolar’s workshops. “I was thinking WOW, look at these components!” he said, while doing the hands on installation work. “I could see how the various components of the solar PV system are put together. This had been a great learning experience!” Jason enthusiastically recommends the workshops to his colleagues at ACC and RESA.
We are very proud to announce that not only has Jason Shaw completed all the requirements for the NABCEP Alternative Experience Pathway, but is now the first deaf NABCEP Certified PV Installer in the Nation! We will be adding an update from Jason at the end of his success story very soon.
ImagineSolar conducted a recent interview in October 2012 with Jason Shaw. Read it below:
- 18 year journeyman electrician
- Completed ImagineSolar’s Advanced Training and Master Training
- First deaf NABCEP certified PV installer in the U.S.
- President of RESA (Renewable Energy Student Assocation), Austin Community College
- Operations and Project Manager, Revolve Solar
1) Tell us about your work in solar/renewable energy since you trained with us.
As President of RESA, a professional development group at ACC, I helped turn RESA into a student chapter of ASES (American Solar Energy Society) and turned around a group in decline. I also connected with key people in renewable energy.
After completing my ACC training, I needed experience to qualify for NABCEP’s PV Installer Certification Exam. I attended a Solar Energy Entrepreneurs Network event & ran into Ezra Auerback, Executive Director of NABCEP. Mr. Auerbach mentioned ImagineSolar’s CNEST program that offered an alternative experience pathway for electricians.
ImagineSolar’s CNEST program enabled me to qualify for & pass NABCEP’s Solar PV Installer Certification Exam. NABCEP informed me I was the first deaf individual in the nation to pass the exam and become a certified solar PV installer, joining 1,500 people nationwide.
After passing the exam, I worked with solar thermal installer American Solar Living to gain two needed solar thermal installations (and complete ACC’s solar thermal course). I gained further solar experience at Altumaxis Technologies, who specializes in off-grid installations. I have since become Revolve Solar’s Operations & Project Manager.
2) How did our team at ImagineSolar prepare you for a career in solar energy?
ImagineSolar helped me by offering an Alternative Experience Pathway Lab with solar PV installation – the first of its kind in the U.S. – to help electricians qualify for the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification Exam.
I enrolled in your CNEST grant program and took courses like PV320 and PV330, which all helped me qualify for and prepare to take the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Exam.
3) What advice would you give to a person wanting to enter the solar industry?
Two keywords: Training and NETWORKING. It’s great to get training, but getting to know the right people is also key to getting the job you want in solar. They have excellent networking events like Solar Austin’s Happy Hour.
To connect with Jason Shaw on LinkedIn, visit his professional profile: linkedin.com/in/