GRID Alternatives’ Install Basics Training program accredited by IREC

GRID alternatives at work

GRID Alternatives is building one of the nation’s most competitive clean energy workforce programs. Last week, its Installations Basics Training 200 Program, which provides hands-on training to entry-level solar installers, was accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

GRID’s IREC Accreditation will be held at its headquarters, with Central Valley being the first affiliate to secure accreditation. The accreditation is valid for five years. GRID will continue applying to add additional affiliates to become accredited training providers until all affiliates have earned IREC accreditation.

An IREC credential is a nationally recognized mark of quality training in the clean energy industry. Students, employers, funders, and other stakeholders look for the IREC mark to find high-quality training that meets safety requirements and is aligned with industry needs. IREC has accredited over 200 clean energy and home energy performance training programs and certified over 100 instructors.

“IREC developed its accreditation program to recognize high-quality training opportunities and close the skills gap between education providers and industry needs,” said Cynthia Finley, IREC Vice President for Workforce Strategy and Innovation. “We congratulate GRID Alternatives for meeting the high standards required to achieve IREC accreditation.”

Details on the program | GRID Alternatives’ industry-vetted Installation Basics Training 200-hour program (IBT 200) trains solar workers with a comprehensive combination of interactive classroom learning, hands-on lab activities, and real-world installation experience.

GRID launched its IBT 200 program early in 2019 after many years of offering informal training on the roof to thousands of individuals and informal trainees who volunteered to support community projects. The IREC accreditation is a major milestone for workforce development at GRID Alternatives.

The IBT 200 program offers an accessible entry point for anyone interested in becoming a solar installer or more, including those who may have never had the opportunity to discover a career in renewable energy.

“We are grateful for the ongoing relationship we have developed with IREC over the years. Their guidance and support during the accreditation process were first-class,” noted Adewale OgunBadejo, GRID Alternatives Vice President of Workforce Development. “The recognition shows the evolution of our workforce development program and how it has become increasingly structured to deliver maximum impact to the individuals and the communities we serve.”

GRID’s community-driven approach ensures the communities most impacted by environmental and economic inequities are at the forefront of the opportunities presented by this unique workforce development program. GRID has an emphasis on working with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), women and nonbinary genders, LGBTQIA+, veterans, people with disabilities, and people impacted by the criminal justice system.

GRID has also hired and developed skilled trainers with lived experience from the target communities served, many of whom have been through the IBT program and can now use their skills to train the next generation of renewable energy workers and entrepreneurs. Other IBT program alumni have also started their businesses and returned to GRID to hire because they know the quality and standards of GRID’s IBT 200 program.

“The accreditation process has been five years in the making. It has been a rigorous process with many obstacles to circumvent, but our team met and exceeded every challenge. This achievement exemplifies being solutions-driven and is a signature moment for us as an organization, making an essential shift to becoming an industry-recognized training provider,” added OgunBadejo.

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