Launching a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) at your company can initially seem daunting. It requires intention and consistency as the structure for apprentice training and development is created and implemented. If your team is just starting their journey into RAPs, it can be helpful to hear from companies who have launched impactful programs and are reaping the benefits of their efforts.
Cue ReVision Energy. They launched their ReVision Energy Electrical Apprenticeship Program (REAP) in 2018 to meet their growing need for licensed electricians, which will likely be a bottleneck for many companies now and in the future. They have had so much success with their first RAP that they are now developing four additional apprenticeship programs in technical sales, PV design, customer service, and management.
Hear from ReVision Energy Training Center Director, Vaughan Woodruff, as he shares what led them to develop their first apprenticeship program. This conversation is from HeatSpring’s free course, Competing for Solar Talent in 2023. You can enroll in the course to hear more from Vaughan and others about how to attract and retain great talent.
In 2018 in New Hampshire, ReVision launched an electrical apprenticeship program that was the first of its kind in the country that brought both the hands-on training that happens in an apprenticeship – which every solar company does already and needs to do – and the training that’s needed to qualify for licensing examinations under the same roof.
That was one of the most consequential decisions I would say that ReVision has made over its nearly 20 year history was to do that. And the reason is that if you look at the statistics related to what is happening with electricians within the United States. Today may seem harsh. It’s actually pretty great compared to where we’re headed.
Our marketing team, because of the amount of work that we have and the need is not necessarily being on the customer side as much as it is on the employee side, we have shifted dramatically our marketing efforts towards workforce development.
About a month and a half ago, we launched a new campaign called Electricians Will Save the World, which focuses on the reality that if we’re moving to electrify everything as our response to climate, and states have requirements for electricians, both in terms of their licensing and who they can supervise – that’s our bottleneck.
The numbers are pretty daunting. Like we need a million electricians by 2030 to meet the needs that we have as a society, in addition to the electrification for renewables. The climate that we have right now is pretty brutal. For every new electrician that gets their wings, we have two that leave the trades either due to retirement or due to a career change.
The numbers that we put together, workforce stats or any other stat, they’re really hard to trace. But from what we’re seeing of those a million electricians going about it – the way that we’re going about it now – means as a society, we’re going to probably be about 600,000 electricians short in 2030, meeting our climate goals and societal demands.
We’ve already seen the results. Our program last May graduated its first class, it had gone through the full four year journeyperson program. At this point, if we look across the company, over 60% of the electricians that we have within the company have earned their license through ReVision Energy.
We have some two year licenses in Maine for residential electricians that have helped to accelerate that. So we still have folks that are in the program who already have a license that helps them to supervise other trainees. but the work that we’re doing through this program has been transformational in our ability to grow electricians as opposed to attract them.