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In this issue | February 2015

Students train with SolPowerPeople at a 40-hour hands-on solar PV workshop in Iowa 



by Laure-Jeanne Davignon, IREC Credentialing Program Director



Don't Wait for Them to Ask if You Hold the IREC Credential



Community Colleges Prepare for Alignment with National Trends


Energized by the White House's recent announcement of the America's College Promise Proposal, over 600 community college presidents, administrators, instructors and partners assembled in Newport Beach, CA for the American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Development Institute at the end of January. IREC's Credentialing Program was on hand and met over three days with numerous potential applicants for the IREC credential and workforce development partners at the IREC booth.


IREC CEO/President Jane Weissman presented during the workshop, Community Colleges Educating for and Building a Clean Energy Economy. Participants learned about the rising need for a skilled commercial energy efficiency workforce, and national trends that are driving demand for and highlighting the importance of quality, industry-driven credentials. These trends include an increase in demand for skilled clean energy workers, and a greater focus on program outcomes and assurances that training is market valued.


Hot topics at the conference included the America's College Promise Proposal, which would make community college tuition-free for certain students. The proposal faces long odds on Capitol Hill, but along with other recent White House announcements, "has had a tremendous impact in casting community colleges in a positive light," according to David Baime with the American Association of Community Colleges.


The reauthorization of the Higher Education and Perkins Acts are on the radar screen for community colleges, as well as the impending Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). We also noted an uptick in interest in training for solar operations and management, and large scale wind installation and operations.


WIOA emphasizes stakeholder engagement and industry partnerships, which was another pervasive theme of the conference. IREC came prepared to provide counsel to community colleges engaged in the workforce system, particularly around new requirements for performance outcomes. Community colleges and other eligible training providers will be expected to verify that students have had a measurable skills gain and will be required to track student postsecondary credential attainment, as well as institutional efforts to engage industry stakeholders.


Many of the provisions of WIOA are compatible with requirements of the IREC Standards, so we stand ready to assist training institutions and have urged the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to emphasize quality credentials and employer-driven programs over simply counting the number of credentials attained. Further guidance around performance indicators will be issued by DOL this spring, so stay tuned.


IREC friend Roger Ebbage, with Lane Community College, urged his colleagues in attendance at the conference to "be ready for the demand" for clean energy training.


Is your college or training organization leading or ready to meet your community's needs for clean energy resources and increased resiliency during these turbulent times? Are you prepared with curriculum developed in accordance with IREC and other national industry standards?


Don't wait for them to ask if you hold the IREC credential and can meet their needs. Consider investing in third-party recognition of your program today to position yourself for future success.





Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
Mobile Brick-and-Mortar Solar Lab: PV training anytime. Anywhere.
It's not often I get to do an on-site interview, but on a chilly and brilliant day in January, I headed east from Austin on Hwy 71 to visit SolPowerPeople, a local PV solar training organization. Of its five principals, two are IREC Certified Master Trainers. One is an IREC Certified Instructor. Three are women, one of whom is a Master Electrician. They all love teaching solar, whether in traditional brick-and-mortar institutions or in their mobile solar training lab. More
Image: 123 RF Stock Photos

Serious about having your training program accredited by IREC and obtaining the most recognized mark of quality in clean energy? Committed to improving your already good training? Daunted about how to get started? Signal if I'm getting warm.

 Relax. Here's the good news.


IREC has a plan that will help you prepare to apply and strengthen your training program gradually over 16 weeks (think marathon training). And it's FREE!  More

Got questions about how to leverage your IREC Credential? Let's talk!
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Ever wonder how your peers are leveraging their IREC credential? Have questions you'd like to ask about maintaining your credential or challenging requirements in the Standard? Interested in hearing about the best practices and successes of other training organizations and trainers?


Join us on March 12, 2-3p ET, when IREC will host an interactive forum just for credential holders. After we hear from some credential holders about their experiences, IREC staff will facilitate discussion on topics requested by event participants.


When you register for the forum, you'll receive login information and a pre-event questions so we'll know what topics interest you.



Find IREC Credential Holders

Enhancements to IREC's credential holder public registry now make it easier for potential students, clients and business partners to find you and view information about your credentials.


Click on a pin to see all credential holders in a location or region. Click 'see details' for more information about that credential holder. Website links that appear in the pop-up information box are taken directly from your personal information page in IREC's Credentialing Management System. Log into the CMS if you need to update or populate the website field (websites must be populated with http://). Make it easier to be found!  

of note...
Image: Solar Energy International 
On the same day the first group of veterans in the U.S. Department of Energy's "Reach for the Sun" solar PV veteran training pilot program graduated at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Vivint Solar extended job offers to all of them.

Through the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), and with IREC's expert guidance, the program provides four weeks of intensive classroom and hands-on solar training for military personnel who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life. Solar Energy International (SEI) led the training program. More

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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.  
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.