Building Progress: Solar and Storage Industry Celebrate Construction Inclusion Week
Tuesday, Oct 17 2023
America’s solar and storage industry is experiencing rapid growth. Today the industry supports the livelihoods of more than 263,000 workers, and our workforce is expected to double in size over the next decade to nearly half a million jobs.
The latest National Solar Jobs Census shows that representation of veterans, Asian, Hispanic and Latino workers in the solar industry outpaces the rest of the economy, and companies have made considerable progress welcoming more women to the industry. That’s good news, however there’s more work to do as underrepresented groups must be at the center of the growing clean energy economy if we are going to meet our goals.
As part of its work to strengthen Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) across the solar and storage industry, SEIA is participating in Construction Inclusion Week — an annual initiative that aims to build awareness about improving diversity and inclusion in the construction sector.
SEIA is working hard to foster more inclusive and equitable workplaces throughout the industry and now offers programs that empower companies to improve DEIJ within their organizations as well as industry wide.
In conjunction with Construction Inclusion Week, SEIA is launching a new module as part of its DEIJ Certification Program.
The new module, Creating Inclusive Spaces in the Trades, focuses on creating welcoming work environments for construction and skilled trades workers by providing energy companies with evidence-based best practices on how to build a welcoming culture, ensure safety, and uplift workers through enhanced training opportunities and pathways to advance their careers.
All areas of field work — including installing solar on rooftops, constructing utility-scale solar arrays, maintaining existing projects, and more — benefit from creating inclusive workplaces, particularly for historically marginalized groups.
In addition to SEIA’s DEIJ tools, several organizations are developing programs and strategies to foster inclusion and bring more people from underrepresented groups into the clean energy sector.
Training centers, such as the Power52 Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland and Red Cloud Renewable on the Pine Ridge Reservation, are preparing women and people of color for careers in solar energy through targeted outreach, hands-on instruction for solar installation and construction, and career development courses.
For companies looking to get more involved, Construction Inclusion Week offers five days of free curriculum resources for employers to help promote equity and inclusion in their organization.
Construction Inclusion Week is the ideal opportunity for the U.S. solar and storage industry to enact plans for attracting, developing, and retaining a more diverse and equitable workforce.