“Veterans are typically willing to go that extra mile and do what they need to do to make sure their team is successful and the company’s successful.” – Micah Fromkin, regional operations manager at SolarCity
San Mateo, California-based SolarCity provides clean energy services to homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations. With hundreds of open job positions across the country at any given time, SolarCity regularly needs to access a pool of qualified job candidates. For a stream of applicants to fill a variety of field, operations and management level positions, SolarCity turns to its partnership with Veterans Green Jobs.
“Veterans Green Jobs provides us with great applicants who are used to being very hard- working in a team environment, work under pressure, and believe in what we’re doing,” said Micah Fromkin, regional operations manager for SolarCity’s Parker, Colo. office.
According to Fromkin, military veterans are a good fit for the renewable energy industry due to the technical skills they bring to the table.
“Many of the veterans we see are coming with skill sets that include working at heights, in difficult conditions and in harsh weather. As solar installers we find ourselves working in those conditions all the time,” he says, adding that general construction experience is a plus for any position in the solar installation field.
SolarCity offers an extensive training program that educates and increases the skill sets of any new employee joining the solar installation team. Typically enrolling in a 40-hour training session at the start of their employment with SolarCity, veterans become well prepared for their new job.
But Fromkin says that solar installation isn’t the end of the path for veterans who join the team: there are numerous career possibilities in this field. “Like in any industry, you start out at the bottom – but you get the skill sets and knowledge that allow you to move forward in the renewable energy industry. A junior installer might become a trainer or might go into operations management. The sky’s the limit after that.”
Fromkin encourages veterans who are looking for work in the renewable energy field to highlight the skills they learned in the military – and remember that they are applicable in the private sector. “For example, being able to rappel is something we see consistently in solar applications. We work in full OSHA compliance, which means everybody needs to be tied to a safety anchor on the roof. In the military, they’re used to working in those types of conditions with that kind of equipment.”
SolarCity does take advantage of the tax incentives available for hiring veterans – and promotes these tax incentives across the divisions of the company. But for Fromkin, it’s the combination of soft and technical skills veterans possess that make them valuable team members for the company.
“What we’ve found in interviewing and hiring veterans is that they slide into a team mentality very easily. They’re problem- solvers. And they’re typically willing to go that extra mile and do what they need to do to make sure their team is successful and the company’s successful.”