Kaiser grant aims to help solar installation training program

Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) — Kaiser Permanente in Fresno is taking action to move the community toward renewable energy.

It recently awarded a local non-profit a $150,000 grant.

GRID Alternatives is a second chance for Kevin Rucker.

“I started having a little rough patch, and I started doing some unfortunate things which led me to be on a struggle,” recalled Rucker. “So I was trying to find a new career path.”

He’s one of 16 trainees part of the Installation Basics Training Program.

“It’s more than I expected,” Rucker said. “The trainers here – they’re so hands-on.”

“It gives a lot of people hope to see what can they be in the future,” said trainee Mark Ramirez.

GRID trainees develop the skills needed for entry-level solar installation jobs through class work and hands-on training. They’re also able to earn skill certificates.

“Everything from residential solar to the large solar projects that are coming to the area, there is a need for people who know how to do the work, and more importantly, know how to do it safely,” explained co-executive director Karina Gonzalez .

A $150,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente will now help more people go through the five-week program.

“This grant is going to go to help so many individuals with opportunities of scholarships to be able to access our program, and then also grants for those who are struggling to be able to make ends meet,” Gonzalez said.

Trainees also give back to the community by installing solar systems on homes of eligible low-income families.

These field installation hours give them a better chance for potential employment.

Each graduate also leaves the program with their own tool kit.

For more information about the training program, visit the organization’s website. If you are someone you know is interested in switching to solar, fill out the online application.

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