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In this issue | Febuary 2014
Image: NREL, Dennis Schroeder



by Jane Weissman, IREC President/CEO




From Donuts to Doing: Forging Strong Ties With Industry



Rumor has it that "green" jobs have faded into the sunset.  After all, enrollment for some renewable energy training is down and new topics are nudging "green" off the hit parade list.  But wait, not so fast.  Don't believe the unfounded rumor mill. 


The Solar Foundation just released their Job Census and look, as of November 2013, the solar industry has grown to almost 142,700 solar workers, which is nearly 20 percent greater than the 2012 solar jobs figures.  Another 22,000 solar jobs are projected to be added this year.  And, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, their "Energy Infrastructure Update" tells us that renewable energy sources accounted for 37 percent of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in 2013.  


So, jobs are out there and the clean energy industry is growing.  What we need now is to put an end to the green-job-hype era and move into the age of green reason. IREC now declares February the turning point as we firmly set course for a balanced and responsive approach to matching quality training to the job market. The good news is that we're on our way.


We saw this at the January 29th meeting of the Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED Center), a project of the American Association of Community Colleges. Three speakers zeroed in on the same theme - you can't set up training that leads to jobs without the industry as an active partner.  


Dr. Ginger Clark from Hillsborough Community College made it a point to discuss industry involvement in her course curriculum, as did Brian Lovell who talked about developing a talent pipeline for high-performance buildings. Brian said that it was not sufficient to invite the industry in for a morning meeting, give them donuts, and expect training to meet their needs. Then my own comments added to the message, with a talk  about tangible ties with industry, "market value," and moving from donuts to doing when partnering with business. 


IREC uses three core elements to steer assurances that the skills taught are in demand by employers:  demonstrated linkage with industry (not just holding a donut breakfast); the use of a current and relevant, industry-driven job task analysis; and curriculum that teaches to occupational competencies. This market value combo is a foundational principle in IREC's standards and credentialing assessment programs. 


One of IREC's tools is our guidance document on developing a job task analysis that is created, validated and accepted by the industry. It goes through the formal steps in the process that leads to a clearly defined job description, followed by a listing for that job of tasks and subtasks and their criticality and frequency. 


We're not about to espouse industry linkage without holding ourselves to the same rigor.  Our industry partners are many, and we keep to an essential requirement that our committees and working groups have balanced and active industry representation.  Direct evidence of this is the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) recently announced industry pledge to quality solar workforce training, working with IREC.  SEIA is encouraging its members to sign a pledge to individually and collectively formalize the solar industry's commitment to build a skilled, knowledgeable workforce trained to safe and effective performance of the tasks solar energy jobs require.


As a training provider, how do you work with industry on a regular basis?  How do you team-up with employers?  Let us know and we'll share your tips and lessons learned. 


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3/29-4/1 | NAWB Forum
Washington, DC


San Diego, CA


Newport Beach, CA


Detroit, MI


4/30-5/1 | CERES Conference
Boston, MA


5/6 | ANSI-IREC Accreditation Workshop

Washington, DC


5/19-22 |  SunShot Grand Challenge Summit 2014

Anaheim, CA



6/23-25 | PV America East
Boston, MA


San Francisco, CA



Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
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The IREC Credentialing Program lays the foundation for a competent workforce for the clean energy economy. Using robust standards and a detailed process of application and assessment, IREC drives quality workforce training and increased consumer confidence in the industry.  

Image: NREL, Dennis Schroeder
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently announced a new industry commitment to quality solar workforce training, working with the IREC. Specifically, SEIA is encouraging its members to recognize the critical value quality workforce training brings to the solar energy industry and pledge to support and employ quality training methods. More
Amanda Hatherly
As Director of the New Mexico Energy$mart Academy (NME$A) and Center of Excellence for Green Building and Energy Efficiency at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), Amanda is professionally and personally committed to leaving the world a better place, and she's doing it full time. Maybe more than full time. More.
EXCLUSIVE for IREC Credential Holders:  March 6 Webinar for New Standards
Flummoxed by the new requirements for your annual report? IREC wants to help!  Join us on March 6 at 2:00ET to learn the ins and outs of the new IREC standards. Gain helpful information about responding to the new annual report and have your questions answered by IREC staff. Remember you can always get help by reaching out to us directly. REGISTER NOW!
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A new Standardization Roadmap will provide 116 action-oriented recommendations to advance energy efficiency in the built environment through standards and conformance activities. The roadmap is an initiative of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESC), of which IREC is a member. A draft is open for public comment through March 15th. More

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As the number of accreditation and certification documents increases, so does your time to find them. We've made a few changes to the Key Docs section, dividing them into four categories: Candidate Handbook & Guidelines; Standards; Application Forms; and Job Task Analyses. We think this new system will make it easier for you to find what you're looking for quickly. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

SAVE THE DATE: ANSI-IREC Accreditation Workshop May 6-7
This day-and-a-half workshop will introduce interested stakeholders to the IREC Standard for Clean Energy Certificate Programs and address attendee's specific questions about the accreditation process. Participants will leave the workshop with a detailed plan to assemble a successful accreditation application. The workshop will be held at ANSI's Washington, DC office. Register via email to [email protected]


Designed as a reference for the candidate as they prepare for and undergo the IREC assessment process, the IREC Candidate Handbook also includes details on maintaining the credential.  More
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IREC's Solar Licensing Database is a web-based resource for policy makers, practitioners, consumers, and anyone else looking for solar licensing information in the U.S. In the database, licensing requirements for installing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems are documented for each state. To keep pace with changes, IREC updates the database weekly. Visit the database.
Of Note...

NABCEP Continuing Ed Conference 

Join NABCEP's certified PV installation professionals and PV technical sales professionals in Denver, March 13-15 for NABCEP's Continuing Education Conference. Obtain all of the continuing education credits needed for recertification. Non-certified professionals can earn up to 18 hours toward certification eligibility.  Register 

If you're ready to apply for the IREC Credential, use IREC's Credentialing Management System (CMS). The latest CMS Reference Guide will help you understand the process. The CMS is also the portal to update personal information, upload supporting documents, check your progress and more. 

A group of well-established, nationally accredited credentialing organizations have united in their commitment to clean energy quality, safety and efficiency. The CECC encourages consumers, employers, energy incentive programs and other stakeholders to look for quality credentials as a distinguishing mark among the growing number of renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals, products, trainers and training programs. IREC is a proud founding member. To learn more, visit


About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for renewable energy and energy efficiency training providers and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC's endorsement or recommendation. 

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