Nexamp fellowship program in Chicago preps students for solar careers

Community solar powerhouse Nexamp launched a new fellowship program in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago aimed at providing underserved or underrepresented populations a pathway into a renewable energy career. Fellows can earn industry-recognized certifications while simultaneously preparing them for post-fellowship job opportunities through the included job-readiness sessions.

The first cohort of fellows, which includes students from Olive-Harvey College and graduates from the Chicago Urban League’s solar energy jobs training program, began the eight-week program in mid-April. Training areas included:

  • Solar technology,
  • construction,
  • project management,
  • IT,
  • supply chain,
  • safety,
  • inspection,
  • office skills,
  • interviewing,
  • and much more.

Having already expressed their interest in the renewable energy field, fellows will explore a variety of opportunities with the goal of determining which Nexamp role or industry position is the one they feel is the best fit and would most like to pursue.

“As leaders in the energy transition, we feel a responsibility to ensure that the opportunities created are available equally to all,” notes Marion Jones, Vice President of Workforce Development and DEIJ Engagement, Nexamp. “Our company is built on the mission of making clean energy simple and accessible, and that extends right through to the jobs created. Giving people with an interest in this space a chance to gain the skills necessary for success will benefit the industry as a whole and we are grateful to City Colleges of Chicago for collaborating with us.”

Chicago is not a random city, either. Nexamp recently announced that its Chicago office would serve as its second national headquarters. Nexamp plans to invest more than $2 billion in the region to expand clean energy. This fellowship program is will help build out a qualified workforce.

Participants will attend training at Nexamp’s downtown office two days a week for four hours each day, receiving professional development and mentorship from industry leaders while building connections with other fellows. Training includes both classroom time and numerous site visits where fellows will engage in typical field tasks.

Fellows receive hourly compensation during the 8-week program and priority consideration for open positions at Nexamp upon completion. Nexamp will be welcoming the next cohort in Chicago next month and plans to expand this model to its other offices across the country.

“For our students coming out of the Solar Energy Jobs Training program, which is focused on classroom and lab activities, being able to step into the daily operations of a leading real-world solar company adds tremendous value. It’s a perfect bridge that helps them apply what they’ve learned and make important connections as they consider where they might fit in the industry,” explains Andrew Wells, Vice President of Workforce Development at the Chicago Urban League.

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