It’s week two of our Solar Women Summer Series! Last week we featured Lidija Sekaric, Director of the Technology to Market Program at the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. This week, we’re excited to feature Tamika Jacques, Director of Workforce Development Programs at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
We met Tamika through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) Successful Women in Clean Energy Program, an innovative program that prepares low income/moderate income, incumbent, un/underemployed, dislocated adult workers with a focus on energy sales training, education and employment in a sales position in the clean energy industry. We’re working with her team and the the team at South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC), Inc, to teach a cohort of women this fall. SMOC is a Community Action Agency that provides a wide range of federally designated social support and subsidized programs to low-income individuals.
- Want to get more involved in solar? Find a mentor! In this field women are always willing to help other women, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- You do not need to have been actively involved in clean energy your whole life to find a rewarding career in the sector.
- Mass CEC’s Learn and Earn program allows high school students to learn about clean energy while working on a clean energy project at their high school. Students are able to receive a summer job combined with a hands-on learning experience.
- Join Mass CEC on June 17 for the latest edition of their Clean Talks series, which will focus on addressing the diversity gaps in the cleantech industry.
Q – Tell us your story – how’d you get into this industry?
My background is in workforce development. I started teaching remedial classes and English as a second language to students that were preparing for careers in aviation 15 years ago. After my first semester of teaching, I knew I had found the right career for me. Eventually I started working on workforce policy before coming to MassCEC as Director of workforce development. MassCEC piqued my interest because I could work on programs for high school students, adults and others that were seeking to transition to an emerging industry that would help solve many problems for the next generation such as climate change. As my background shows, you do not need to have been actively involved in clean energy your whole life to find a rewarding career in the sector.
Q – What have been the largest barriers preventing women from joining the world of solar professionally?
Educating young women about the benefits of the solar industry must begin at a young age. Most young women, unless they attend a vocational or STEM-focused school, may never realize the opportunities that are available in this growing field. MassCEC has tried to help with the education component through our Learn and Earn program, which allows high school students to learn about clean energy while working on a clean energy project at their high school. Students are able to receive a summer job combined with a hands-on learning experience.
Q – How can HeatSpring solar women and alumni become more involved with MassCEC?
Stay engaged with us. Follow us on Twitter (@MassCEC), sign up for our email updates (www.masscec.com) and come out to our events. Earlier this year we hosted a women’s networking event, and on June 17th we’ll be hosting the latest edition of our Clean Talks series, which will focus on addressing the diversity gaps in the cleantech industry.
Q – Do you have any tips for women interested in a solar career?
Find a mentor. This could mean finding another women who is in the field you’re interested in and solicit their advice, or seek out opportunities that allow you to shadow another female as she goes through her work day. I find in this field women are always willing to help other women, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Q – What do you look for in an organization you consider investing in?
MassCEC looks to help clean energy companies that will have the biggest environmental and economic benefit in the Commonwealth. We look to support the cutting-edge innovation firms, while also supporting those deploying existing technologies and helping homeowners and businesses take control of their energy costs.
Q – What do you see as being one of the biggest barriers to the full integration of solar energy systems in the US and how can the next generation of engineers/renewable building science professionals work toward this?
As solar and other clean energy companies grow here in Massachusetts, we need to make sure there is a vibrant, trained pipeline of workers ready to take those jobs. That means engaging people of all ages, showing them the virtues of working in clean energy, and providing the resources they need to learn and grow within the sector.
Q – What is one (or more!) solar initiative currently taking place that you’re really excited about?
MassCEC is partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to launch Mass Solar Loan, a program that aims to boost solar ownership across the Commonwealth by connecting homeowners with low-interest loans to finance the projects. The program will make buying solar panels an easy process for homeowners across the state.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) Successful Women in Clean Energy Program is an innovative program that prepares low income/moderate income, incumbent, un/underemployed, dislocated adult workers with a focus on energy sales training, education and employment in a sales position in the clean energy industry. The program is intended to support educational and career pathways in clean energy that lead to economic self-sufficiency for low and moderate-income individuals. The program includes pre-selected curriculum in sales, work-preparedness, career readiness, financial literacy, and Support Services. After the training program (classroom) is completed participants will receive a six month paid fellowship at a clean energy business subsidized by MassCEC.
ADDITIONAL LEARNING RESOURCES:
- Learn more about women in solar via RenewableEnergyWorld.com
- Learn more about the Solar Women Summer Series
- Join us on July 13th at the Intersolar North America Happy Hour hosted by Women in Cleantech & Sustainability,Solar Marketing Group, Women In Solar Energy and GRID Alternatives.
- We’ll also be at the WISE Intersolar North America breakfast on July 14th!
- Check out the National Women in Solar Initiative webcast series hosted by GRID Alternatives and SunEdison
- Free Course: Solar PV Design, Code, Economics, Sales, and Site Visits
- Solar Executive MBA
- Megawatt Design
- Solar PV Installer Boot Camp Training + NABCEP Entry Level Exam Prep