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In Blondell Reynolds Brown, Council News, Darrell L. Clarke, Derek Green, News by PHL Council

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Students Complete Course Providing Jobs-Ready Training for Green Energy Careers

Philadelphia, Aug. 18, 2017 Mayor James F. Kenney, Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), and the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) on Friday joined the inaugural class of a solar jobs training course designed for Philadelphia public school students.

The “Find Your Power” program provides six weeks of training and instruction in clean energy, solar installation best practices, and general job readiness skills. Student trainees receive hands-on experience in solar installation under the supervision of practitioners provided by Philadelphia-based company Solar States. The course was designed by PEA and the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Career and Technical Education.

On Friday, city officials joined 18 “Find Your Power” trainees at a certification ceremony at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Benjamin Franklin High School.

“This program is vital to the future of Philadelphia for so many reasons,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Not only are we providing our students with the skills they need for successful careers in a growing industry but we are continuing our commitment to clean, renewable energy. I applaud these students for taking the initiative to provide for themselves and working to leave behind a better Philadelphia for future generations.”

Council President Clarke presented each student with a City Council citation in recognition of their achievement.

“Today we celebrate the first of many Philadelphia public school students who will have the education and training they need to participate in the growing field of sustainable energy,” Council President Clarke said.

“The ‘Find Your Power’ program advances our vision of creating a pipeline of opportunity between Philly public schools and the 10,000 new jobs that are being created by the Philadelphia Energy Campaign. Sustainable energy helps promote our environment, public health, and economy. Congratulations to these students for showing such strong dedication to our city and to their futures.”

This summer, PEA launched Solarize Philly, a citywide program to help Philadelphians go solar at home. More than 1,600 households have already signed up to receive discounted group pricing on solar energy options. Solarize Philly is projected to create 75 living-wage, career jobs. The “Find Your Power” training program was created as a vehicle to connect public school students with future training and apprenticeship opportunities in the solar industry.

Solarize Philly is part of the $1 billion Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a sustainable energy initiative announced by Council President Clarke in 2016 to reduce energy costs and create 10,000 energy sector jobs over 10 years.

“PEA has seen overwhelming interest from more than 1,600 homeowners across the city who want to go solar through Solarize Philly,” Executive Director Schapira said. “We want Philadelphia’s young people to benefit from exponential growth in the solar industry.  We are thrilled by the success of the ‘Find Your Power’ class and look forward to supporting these students and many others to pursue opportunities in the green economy.”

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (At-Large), Chair of the Committee on the Environment, added: “Solarize Philly has led the charge in advancing rooftop solar in our city, with the effect of increasing homeownership retention and affordability through energy savings. As a result of this unprecedented green jobs initiative, young people acquired valuable real life work experience. My staff and I salute and offer our congratulations to the inaugural cohort of the ‘Find Your Power’ class.”

Student trainees received hands-on instruction at solar installation sites across the city, including the 81 kW array on the roof of the Crane Arts Building and the 248 kW array installed by the Philadelphia Water Department, as well as the GridSTAR Center at the Navy Yard, the Energy Coordinating Agency, and the office of Solar States.

Students received stipends through the Philadelphia Youth Network‘s WorkReady program. Funding for “Find Your Power” was made possible by a School District of Philadelphia GreenFutures grant and the Philadelphia Energy Authority.

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