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In this issue | March 2014
Alfred State competes in the 2013 China Solar Decathlon
image: Alfred State College



by Pat Fox, IREC Director of Credentialing Development

Pat Fox





Pour the Coffee... We have work to do!


The most direct measure of whether a training or educational program has market value is whether its graduates have the knowledge and skills required in the job market.  Yet, a recently released Gallup poll sponsored by the Lumina Foundation indicates that only 11 percent of business leaders strongly agree that graduates of higher education programs have the skills and competencies that their business needs. This is a disturbing number.


Clearly there needs to be a serious improvement in the linkage between business leaders and educational providers if the skills gap is going to be closed. 


Last month, Jane Weissman wrote about the importance of industry linkage in her column "Donuts to Doing." Well, pour the coffee and roll up your sleeves because based on the Gallup-Lumina report, we have a lot of work to do.


The good news is that 88 percent of business leaders want to see an increase in collaboration with higher education institutions.


To produce graduates who have the knowledge and skills required in a job, employers are looking for competency-based and project-based learning. It is not simply sufficient to teach concepts. It is critical to provide hands-on experiences and to objectively measure whether a student is learning the material taught.


There are several specific components that the IREC Credentialing Program looks for when assessing the market value and outcomes of a training program.

  • Linkage with industry: essential to ensuring that a program is preparing students for jobs that exist within a market.
  • Curriculum based on an industry-validated Job Task Analysis: fundamental to developing a curriculum that teaches the skills and knowledge a job requires.
  • Hands-on/lab experience: vital to providing the practical learning employers are seeking.
  • Assessment of student learning: necessary for demonstrating that graduates have learned the tasks and knowledge being taught.

To further understand and help close the skills gap, and to find and support solutions to increasing collaboration with industry, IREC has joined the recently formed National Network of Business and Industry Association (NNBIA) established by the ACT Foundation. Joining discussions about setting national standards for industry credentials and pathways for learning that result in employment, IREC is at the table to learn from and share with a broad cross-section of industry experiences and ensure that clean energy is included in the conversation.


To develop a quality program, we expect training providers to be directly engaged with industry and, by joining NNBIA, we continue to demonstrate that we at IREC expect no less from ourselves.


3/29-4/1 | NAWB Forum
Washington, DC
Baltimore, MD


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



6/20-22 | The Energy Fair
Custer, WI
6/23-25 | PV America East
Boston, MA


San Francisco, CA



Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
Credentialing program square logo
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.  

For more than 10 years, Alfred State College (ASC) in Alfred, New York, has been educating students in the renewable energy and efficiency areas, in the classroom and in the workplace. Their reputation for hands-on, project-based learning is legendary. Recently, we visited with Craig Clark, interim vice president academic affairs at Alfred State, about how their learning methods ready students for careers in the clean energy industry. More 
New Organizations and Trainers Awarded Prestigious IREC Credential

Nine training organizations and two individual instructors in clean energy were recently awarded the prestigious IREC credential.

"It is exciting to see such a diverse group of organizations and educators demonstrating their commitment to quality and continuous improvement through pursuit of an IREC credential," said Laure-Jeanne Davignon, director of IREC's Credentialing Program. "We view this as a strong indicator of the health and maturity of the fast-growing clean energy industry." More

Join IREC's credentialing team at booth #113 at the 2014 National Association of Workforce Investment Boards (NAWB) annual conference, March 29-April 1 in Washington, D.C. In addition to thought-provoking issue sessions, practical workshops and networking opportunities, the stellar lineup of keynoters includes Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor, and Elizabeth H. Shuler, CFO, AFL-CIO. Online registration for the Forum 2014 closes Friday, March 21. More
Mark Your Calendars: 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]

Image: NREL, Dennis Schroeder
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently announced a new industry commitment to quality solar workforce training, working with 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

Finding Credentialing Docs Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Africa Studio -

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!


A job task analysis (JTA) is a formal, industry-accepted study, validated by a group of subject-matter experts that defines competencies in knowledge, skills and attitudes as the basis for education/training curricula. Currently, IREC accepts 13 JTAs: eight NREL energy efficiency JTAs, and five renewable energy JTAs. More 
map of the US
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...


ACEEE & CEE National Symposium: Efficiency in the Age of Interconnectivity

As a panelist on Greening the Workforce: Opportunities for Commercial Facilities Savings through Innovative Training, IREC's Laure-Jeanne Davignon will discuss how national standards translate to regional programs and how this model is affected by the push for accreditation and what that means for increasing competitiveness in the green jobs sector. March 30-April 1, Baltimore. More


2014 ACI National Home Performance Conference

The 2014 ACI National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show, April 29-May 1 in Detroit, is the conference where home performance professionals from every sector gather for an outstanding educational agenda, unparalleled networking opportunities, and the industry's largest trade show. Say hello to IREC in booth #611.  More

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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