School founded for coal miners in the 1890s launches solar skills programs

May 21, 2018

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By Kelsey Misbrener

Penn Foster, a skilled trade school that was founded in the 1890’s for coal miners, announced the launch of certificate programs in solar panel installation. Delivered through Penn Foster’s accessible, responsive online platform, the self-paced programs are designed to equip professionals in a cross-section of trades — including plumbers, electricians, and roofers — with in-demand skills in the fast-growing solar profession.

Research suggests that growth in the U.S. solar industry has dramatically outpaced overall economic growth in recent years. The decreasing cost of solar installation, paired with new requirements for solar power in new homes, have fueled demand for expertise in both residential and commercial installation. More than eight in ten employers report difficulty finding qualified applicants to fill skilled positions in the solar field.

“The rapid expansion of the solar industry has created a widening skills gap and growing demand for skilled workers who can fill solar installation positions,” said Dara Warn, COO at Penn Foster. “Our close partnerships with employers give us unique insight into the skills that are in greatest demand — enabling us to design training programs that connect individuals with career opportunities.”

Penn Foster will offer certificates in solar photovoltaic and solar thermal installation, designed for carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians and others with experience in the skilled trades. The courses, which include both online and hands-on models, are designed to enable working individuals to learn at their own pace and on their own time. For more information, visit Penn Foster’s website here.


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