Portland Adult Education, a leading provider of adult educational programs and workforce development initiatives, is pleased to announce the launch of its Renewable Energy Careers: Introduction to Solar Installation and Heat Pumps Program. This pre-apprenticeship program – developed in partnership with ReVision Energy, Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) and Portland Adult Education (PAE) – prepares multilingual adults to enter (or re-enter) the field of renewable energy as a viable and sustainable career path.
As the global shift toward clean, sustainable energy accelerates, the demand for skilled professionals in the renewable energy industry is rapidly increasing. PAE’s new program addresses this demand by connecting immigrants, refugees, and other New Mainers with comprehensive training and classroom instruction in solar installation and heat pump technology. Many of the New Mainers in the program come from a background in engineering and other fields closely related to clean energy solutions. The program was co-taught by PATHS and PAE teachers, as well as industry experts from ReVision Energy. PATHS provided the space to learn through hands-on instruction and simulated projects. Other employer partners included Evergreen Home Performance, Maine Solar Solutions, and Royal River Heat Pumps.
“PAE is proud to collaborate with ReVision and PATHS to deliver this unique program,” said Abbie Yamamoto, Executive Director of Portland Adult Education. “Our inaugural cohort consisted of 15 talented professionals representing diverse cultural, linguistic and professional backgrounds. Over the course of nine weeks, participants learned new skills to forge their career pathways and to establish valuable connections within the industry. It is exciting to see some of them re-enter their fields or related ones, and for some, starting their journey in a new career.”
Before coming to Maine in 2022, Manuela Kayembe studied civil engineering in Botswana. Her interest in sustainable energy solutions led her to PAE, where she enrolled in the program’s first cohort. She said, “Being part of the very first Renewable Energy Careers program was an exciting and rewarding experience. Being at the forefront of this program allowed me to learn about solar installation, energy efficiency, and the latest industry advancements. It also allowed me to meet with incredible people from engineering backgrounds and also meet and interact with many of Maine’s solar energy employers.” Manuela added, “My goal for the future is to make a meaningful impact in promoting clean energy and creating a more sustainable future.”
Vaughan Woodruff, VP of Workforce Development at ReVision Energy, said: “With the adoption of local and national climate goals and federal funding dedicated to achieving those goals, Maine and the U.S. now must figure out how to develop a workforce of that will design, build, and maintain the technologies central to our response to climate change. This creates an urgent need to support individuals who can adapt their expertise to work with technologies such as solar and heat pumps. We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Portland Adult Education to streamline pathways into renewable energy careers for new Mainers who bring a wealth of professional experience to our state and who will be instrumental in Maine’s effort to build the clean energy solutions needed to achieve our climate goals.”
PAE’s Renewal Energy Careers: Introduction to Solar Installation and Heat Pumps Program is a pre-apprenticeship program made possible thanks to funders including the Maine Department of Labor and the City of Portland. PAE anticipates another cohort in October 2023.
About Portland Adult Education
Portland Adult Education (PAE), which is part of the Portland Public Schools, provides a diverse range of programs that empower adults to achieve their educational, professional, and personal goals. To learn more visit portlandadulted.org.
About ReVision Energy
ReVision Energy is an employee-owned solar company with over 9,000 installed systems in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. To learn more visit revisionenergy.com.
About Portland Arts and Technology High School
Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) is greater Portland’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school. To learn more visit paths.portlandschools.org.
Photos: Manuela Kayembe (above) along with her classmates (below) receive hands-on solar installation training at PATHS. Photos provided by ReVision Energy.