David Bartholomew, Solar Installer, SolarCity
David Bartholomew was able to take advantage of the post 9/11 G.I. Bill when he got out of the military in 2009. But after returning to school and using up his eligibility, it was time to re-enter the job market, and he found the transition challenging. “It was difficult finding a job that was a good fit,” he says.
Finding himself unemployed, David was conducting online searches for employment opportunities when he came upon the “Jobs Page” on the Veterans Green Jobs website. He got in touch with the nonprofit’s career counselor.
“The career counselor acted as an advocate for me and contacted the hiring manager at Solar City. She also gave me tips on fine-tuning my resume. That got the door opened and landed me an interview,” says David, who already had some experience working part-time for a small solar company. He had also earned an associate’s degree in renewable energy from Red Rocks Community College, putting him on a viable path toward a career in solar.
SolarCity’s Parker, Colorado office hired David as a solar installer. In this role, he installs the required framework and wiring, then installs the solar panels on the roofs of residential customers. He enjoys working in the renewable energy field – and finds the work rewarding in more ways than one.
“I take pride that my job doesn’t just earn me a paycheck – it is also making a difference in the environment by reducing our dependence on non-sustainable energy consumption,” he says.
David’s experience in the military equipped him with team-building skills and an ability to work in harsh conditions. As a U.S. Navy diver, he developed specialized expertise leading teams in diving and engineering operation projects, including maintenance and repairs under extreme, open-ocean environments. Leaving the Navy with 23 years of service under his belt, he took a break to live as a civilian and to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in human resources management.
David says he misses the relationships he formed in the military, and as well as the level of responsibility he was tasked with during each new assignment. He finds the civilian workforce environment very different. “I have to prove myself at the lowest level in the civilian community,” he says.
He hopes others will experience a smoother switch when making the transition to their new life. “My wish for other veterans is a seamless transition back into the civilian sector.”