Bechtel has partnered with Workforce Solutions, the operating arm of the Texas Workforce Commission, to provide more apprenticeships for U.S. veterans and transitioning service members at its solar energy projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The partnership aims to introduce more veterans to construction opportunities in the growing renewables market and help address a shortage of craft professionals across the construction sector.
“As our customers accelerate renewables into their portfolio planning, we expect significant demands for a qualified clean-energy workforce,” said Kelley Brown, Bechtel’s Renewables & Clean Energy operations manager. “We provide integrated development and EPC services to help our customers deliver clean energy infrastructure in a market currently facing capacity constraints amidst unprecedented global demand. Developing passionate, innovative, and high-quality construction talent through our apprenticeship program is vital to answering the country’s call to build new energy infrastructure.”
“Workforce Solutions is committed to making the U.S. Gulf Coast region the best place to do business, work, and live,” said Nicholas Morgan, Employer Service Division of Workforce Solutions. “Apprenticeships are a clear win-win for our community. While meeting the workforce needs of employers like Bechtel, apprenticeships allow us to connect workers with well paid jobs and training that offer clear career pathways in high-growth in-demand occupations.”
“The specialized skills, leadership, and commitment of service members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans are the qualities we look for in construction,” said David Haley, a workforce development manager at Bechtel. “This apprenticeship program will add new specialized skills to that foundation to support the veterans in building rewarding careers while again answering their country’s call, this time in the growing renewable power sector.”
Per Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry workforce is expected to double in size to 400,000 workers by 2030. Large utility-scale projects like the Cutlass Solar project in Fort Bend County, Tx, contribute to this projected growth. Cutlass Solar, an Advanced Power project, will create more than 200 new construction jobs and provide enough to power approximately 15,000 homes with zero-carbon electricity.
The Bechtel-Workforce Solutions apprenticeship program combines on-the-job learning with classroom teaching and mentoring to support the move into a new career field. Training includes an introduction to the industry, use of hand and power tools, construction math, construction drawings, operation of equipment, and multiple employment-related topics.
Apprentices also receive an industry-recognized national credential from the National Center for Construction Education & Research, and certifications such as OSHA 10, First Aid/CPR, and for the operation of lifts.
Since establishing partnerships to expand apprenticeships in 2017, Bechtel has assisted 220 veterans in entering the construction industry.