Solar Builder

NOV-DEC 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 11 "As a national community economic development intermediary offering programs and activities that target HBCUs and their host communities, we are delighted to partner with SEIA in exposing HBCU students as well as their faculty and staff to opportunities in solar and clean energy," said Ron Butler, CDAC's CEO. "With an ultimate goal of community empowerment and economic relevancy, we see diversity and inclusion in this growing indus- try from all aspects including workforce and enterprise development." Solar thought leaders realize the industry is in position to not just remake the grid, but also the makeup of the American work- force. Coming from Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of SEIA, on stage at SPI, diversity resonates as a genuine tenet, with Hamm noting the key being "intentional" efforts to have a diverse industry. For those unmoved by the need to do this solely because it's "the right thing to do," Hopper made it clear that diversity as a goal isn't just another progressive solar industry Kumbaya talking point. "I want to make sure everyone understands, you make more money when you have a diverse set of decision makers," she said. "Even though we believe passionately it's the right thing to do, it's also the right business thing to do. The intentionality is important. It can't just be a box you check once a year or a workshop you attend. It's a daily, weekly thing. Bring diverse communities together, make sure they stay and feel welcome and promote them. Show them a path." With that edict in mind, SEIA and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU-CDAC) have begun a new effort to increase recruitment of African- American students into the industry from the nation's 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This will include hosting a national jobs fair, individual jobs fairs at HBCU schools and bringing solar compa- nies to campuses for recruitment. "Diversity and inclusion is one of our highest priorities and, while we've made progress, we still have a long way to go to make the solar industry more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities we serve," Hopper said. As an outcome of the partnership, SEIA and CDAC will work with participating HBCUs to create a database of students pur- suing clean energy degrees, or those interested in working in solar, that will be accessible by SEIA companies. Both organizations will work with campus representatives to foster résumé exchanges and coordinate interviews among participating companies.

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