C4EE Offers Solar Construction Training for Family Resource Center South Atlantic Re-Entry Program

Reggie Whitaker, Case Manager for the Family Resource Center South Atlantic (middle), is pictured with the most recent class of certified solar construction trainees from the Center for Energy Education. 

Christina T. Hill

Communications and Marketing Manager

The Center for Energy Education

December 14, 2020

Roanoke Rapids, NC –The Center for Energy Education (C4EE) is partnered with the Family Resource Center South Atlantic (FRCSA) and the Turning Point Workforce Development Board to train a new round of Halifax County residents in solar construction.

The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded funds to the FRCSA for the New Start Glow Re-Entry program. The goal of the program is to provide long-term employment in high demand fields, with an emphasis on the solar energy field for justice-involved residents of Halifax County.

“Our tag line is, ‘Serving Families, changing communities’,” says James Johnson, Director of the New Start Re-Entry program at the FRCSA.

According to Johnson, the New Start Re-Entry program is just one of the many FRCSA programs.

“We are doing our part by helping those in need of second chances obtain sustainable employment,” says Johnson.

The C4EE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and a center for renewable energy research, education, and workforce development for the eastern United States. Since 2017, the Center has trained 189 residents in its Solar Construction and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training course.

“The Center for Energy Education is proud to partner with the Family Resource Center South Atlantic and provide this training free for locals,” says Mozine Lowe, executive director for the C4EE. “Despite COVID-19, it feels good to start this program back up for another round of classes,” says Lowe.

Construction classes began at the Center on December 5, 2020. In-person class sizes can accommodate ten students at a time with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines in place for safety.

Through the partnership, the FRC-SC recruits students for the C4EE to train. After their solar training is completed, students attend a work-readiness course from the Turning Point Workforce Development Board.

“Work-readiness training gives students knowledge about the job and how to keep the job,” says Frince Williams, Business Engagement Coordinator at Turning Point Workforce Development Board.

The Center connects its certified trainees with solar companies who have construction projects underway.

“By 2023, the program’s objective is to provide solar training for 150 individuals from Halifax and neighboring counties who are career-oriented and have a criminal record,” says D’Artagnan Beets, Workforce Training Project Lead at the C4EE.

“It is also our goal to find these individuals employment in the solar industry within six months of completing their training,” says Beets.

The class is taught indoors and outdoors by college instructors, safety professionals, and solar industry leaders.

“I found the students to be extremely engaging and anticipating the golden opportunities before them after completing the class, says Jason Bone, C4EE Solar Construction Instructor and Industrial Systems Department Head at Halifax Community College.

Students must complete eight hours of solar construction training and ten hours of OSHA training to receive certification.

“I have learned a lot from the program,” says current C4EE Solar Construction student Matthew Martin.

“It is great that we are able to get these certifications because solar is the way of the future, and I think it is one of the best fields to be in because there is a lot of opportunity for advancement,” says Martin.

Limited space is available in the New Start Glow Re-Entry program. For more information about the program, visit https://frcsa.org/new-start, and to register, contact Reggie ­­­­­­­­­Whitaker by phone at (919) 971-0244 or email rwhitaker@frcsa.org.