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Training and Workforce Development Projects

ImagineSolar has created and implemented training and workforce development projects for the educational sector, including the following:

First Solar Training Program in Texas at Austin Community College

ImagineSolar brought Texas its first community college program dedicated to solar training. After drafting the initial proposal for the program, ImagineSolar designed the course curriculum, specified the equipment, and conducted outreach to both participants and partners. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Texas State Energy Conservation Office.

Under the initial grant and subsequent grants, Michael Kuhn developed the original curricula for the nine courses below and provided consultation to ACC to create the first Associate of Applied Science Degree in renewable energy in Texas.

For ACC Continuing Education:

  1. HART1071 Solar Electric Systems, Entry Level (with John Hoffner)
  2. HART1072 Advanced Solar Photovoltaic Installer (with John Hoffner)
  3. HART1073 Solar Thermal Systems
  4. HART1074 PV Problem Solving
  5. HART1075 Working Safely with Photovoltaic Systems
  6. HART1076 Incentives for Solar Energy Systems
  7. HART1077 Mounting Practices for Solar Energy
  8. Solar Train-the-Trainer for HART1071
  9. For ACC Electronics & Advanced Technologies Department: ELMT2474 Solar Photovoltaic Systems, 96 Contact Hours

Austin Independent School District Solar Curriculum Development

In alliance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements for K-12 science classes, ImagineSolar developed coursework for the Austin Independent School District on the topic of solar energy. ImagineSolar also provided training for AISD science teachers in an effort to help implement the project. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the City of Austin.

Solar Train-the-Trainer Program for Educators in Texas

Following its conception at ImagineSolar, the Solar Train-the-Trainer program successfully prepared educators from all across Texas for instructing on the topics of solar energy and photovoltaic systems. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Texas State Energy Conservation Office and implemented through Austin Community College. We shared our knowledge for best practices with all the colleges listed below:

  • Alamo Colleges, San Antonio, Texas
  • Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas
  • Austin Community College, Austin, Texas
  • Cedar Valley College, Lancaster, Texas
  • Central Texas College, Killeen, Texas
  • Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), Dallas, Texas
  • Kilgore College, Kilgore, Texas
  • Lamar Institute of Technology, Beaumont, Texas
  • Lee College, Baytown, Texas
  • Lone Star College, Tomball, Texas
  • Northeast Texas Community College, Mount Pleasant, Texas
  • South Plains College, Levelland, Texas
  • Temple Collage, Temple, Texas
  • Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas
  • Texas State Technical College, Harlingen, Texas
  • Texas State Technical College, Marshall, Texas

NABCEP PV Installation Professional Job Task Analysis (JTA)

Since 2011, Michael Kuhn has served on the PV Technical Committee for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). He was a member of the subject matter expert team that created the Job Task Analysis (JTA) for the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification exam.

Institute of Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Advisory Board

In addition to the Solar PV Installer JTA Team, Michael has also served on the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and Institute of Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Advisory Board since 2010. IREC, a non-profit corporation, has worked with industry, government, and educators to ensure that the broader use of renewable energy is safe, affordable, and practical for us all. 2012 marked IREC’s 30th year as a leader in the renewable energy community.

Energy Training Partnership Grant from the Department of Labor, and ARRA HGEI

In 2010, ImagineSolar was awarded the Energy Training Partnership Grant on behalf of ARRA High Growth and Emerging Industries, and the Department of Labor. In partnership with the Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), and the Workforce Solutions – Capital Area Workforce Board; ImagineSolar helped create the Comprehensive-National Electrician Solar Training initiative (C-NEST) soon after the grant was awarded. Â With the support of our partners going forward, ImagineSolar went on to implement an ambitious solar and smart grid training program across the five-state region of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In fulfillment of the grant and C-NEST partnership, ImagineSolar was responsible for the following:

  • Providing potential trainees with technical information regarding solar electrical training.
  • Case managing trainees. This includes training in both retention and tracking.
  • Maintaining applicant and trainee status on an enrollment database for the purposes of future training, employment, and job retention tracking.
  • Supporting the procurement process for training supplies and equipment as necessary for conducting project training.
  • Consultation with AEJATC on the specificities of grant-related equipment and supplies for the purpose of conduction procurements.
  • Assistance in the installation of equipment.
  • Coordination with utility-scale contractors for targeting appropriate training outcomes.
  • Coordination with local non-profits, and public entities for field experience installations.
  • Coordination with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners for proctoring the NABCEP Entry Level Exam andappropriate industry recognition for trainees.
  • Providing training to eligible grant-funded individuals in solar and smart grid courses.
  • Maintaining best industry practices in terms of course quality and delivery per ISPQ guidelines, as well as instructor capabilities they apply to NABCEP’s requirements.
  • Increased training capacity in consideration of expectations for grant funded trainee enrollment.
  • Conducting trainee surveys upon course completion, and sharing the results with AEJATC as well as Workforce Solutions.
  • Assistance with identifying employment opportunities for trainees.

Our performance on this grant gained recognition for promising practices from the Department of Labor as well as the Texas Workforce Investment Council, Office of the Governor. In addition to our training partners, we collaborated with staff and trainers from the following training centers:

  • Austin Electrical JATC, Austin, Texas
  • New Mexico Electrical JATC, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • North Texas Electrical JATC, Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Phoenix Electrical JATC, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Rio Grande Valley/Laredo JATC
  • South Texas Electrical JATC, San Antonio, Texas
  • Texas Gulf Coast Electrical JATC, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Topeka Electrical JATC, Topeka, Kansas
  • Tulsa Electricians JATC, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Western Oklahoma Electrical JATC, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • West Texas Electrical JATC, Amarillo, Texas
  • Wichita Electrical JATC, Wichita, Kansas
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