President Obama visited Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah to host a roundtable on clean energy.
With the United States generating 20 times more solar electricity than when the President took office, we’ve made substantial progress — and in his remarks today, the President announced more actions to drive growth in the solar industry while supporting our nation’s veterans.
“What I’m doing here today is to highlight the fact that the solar industry is actually adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy,” President Obama said. “They’re good-paying jobs that are helping folks enter into the middle class.” And today, the President announced three new actions to build on this progress.
First, he announced a new goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, an increase on our previous goal of 50,000 solar workers. To reach this goal, the Department of Energy launched their SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which has trained 1,000 certified solar instructors and nearly 30,000 students nationwide in the last five years.
Second, the President announced the launch of a Solar Ready Vets Program. This initiative will train transitioning military service personnel, including those stationed at the Hill Air Force Base, for careers in the quickly growing solar industry. Service members will learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and comply with local building codes, making them employable in our 21st-century job market.
Finally, the President announced new ways in which more veterans can use the post-9/11 GI Bill for solar jobs training. “I’ve said it before, and I think employers are starting to catch on, if you really want to get the job done, hire a veteran,” President Obama said. More than 30 percent of the federal workforce is now made up of veterans, and this new initiative will enable more veterans to use their GI Bill benefits to participate in job-driven training programs through local community colleges. This gives veterans across the country the opportunity to quickly learn the skills needed for good-paying jobs in the solar industry.
These new initiatives will allow us to keep our economy growing, create even more new jobs, and generate opportunities for our veterans and more middle-class Americans.