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Solar Job Opportunities Rising in Michigan; GRCC Opens Specialized Training

Tuesday January 25 2011 - Grand Rapids, MI - Grand Rapids Community College once again is leading the way for West Michigan workers to thrive in the new economy by offering Solar Panel Installer training beginning February 1, 2011. This training was designed to meet the needs of several West Michigan companies whose workers need an entry-level introduction to how Solar Photo Voltaics (PV) applies to the production of electrical energy.  

According to a 2010 report from the Solar Foundation, Michigan is ranked 4th in the number of solar-related jobs in the U.S. with an estimated 6,300 people employed by the solar industry.  

“GRCC is ready to prepare people to meet the needs of the solar installer industry.  Faculty who are teaching this program have the necessary experience to give each person the hands-on learning that will make them successful,” said GRCC Director of Workforce Training, Julie Parks.

Hiring of PV workers is on the rise.  More than half of solar-industry employers nationally plan to increase their workforce in the next year, representing nearly 24,000 net new jobs by August 2011, significantly higher than the U.S. economy which is expected to increase two per cent.  

GRCC’s Workforce Training has designed this course to be 50% theory and 50% hands-on work. Salary Expert.com reported that the average salary last year for a Solar Photovoltaic Installer in Detroit was $56, 561.

The final exam for this course is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Entry Level Exam.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The Training Solutions department trained over 8,100 students in specialized training programs in 2009-10. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.