UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center will help train those leaving the military to work in the solar energy industry thanks to a new joint U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense initiative, Solar Ready Vets, announced Tuesday.
The agencies awarded The Solar Foundation a $2 million grant to help train military personnel preparing to transition back to civilian life. The nonprofit foundation turned to FSEC for help.
Experts from the center will train community college instructors at Eglin Air Force Base as part of the new grant. Those instructors will then train service members.
Some of the money UCF will receive may also be used to develop the lab facilities needed to teach the hands-on curriculum at the Cocoa campus to a broader group of soon-to-be veterans, said Colleen McCann Kettles, program director at the FSEC.
“This recognizes our long history as a solar-training institution,” she said. “To have that recognized is great. It’s an honor to be training military vets and it is also a privilege to participate in the program.”
The solar-training program is already in place at five military bases. Tuesday’s announcement added five more, among them Eglin, Fort Bragg, N.C., and the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii.
Solar companies actively recruit employees who go through the DOE training, said Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy energy secretary of the DOE, who made the announcement alongside Daniel Feehan, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense.
“The idea is to connect our students to a new set of possibilities,” she said.
To find out more about the program click here.