State to fund solar-power workforce training for women in Westchester

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YONKERS — Sixteen job-seeking Westchester County women will get free training for careers in the solar energy industry thanks to a new state grant.

The Yonkers YWCA-administered program will allow trainees to take a course on photovoltaics at Rockland Community College to prepare for a professional certification exam on solar-panel installation. Participants will also get help with job placement. Ten spots are still available in the program, which begins Oct. 11.

State lawmakers presented a $40,000 check for the training Monday at the YWCA.

State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the grant will open the door to well-paying jobs in a rapidly-growing sector of the national economy.

According to a report by the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed about 100,000 workers in 2011, an increase of nearly 7 percent from 2010 – easily outpacing the national job-growth rate. More than half of the jobs were in installation.

Yejide Okunribido, the YWCA’s executive director, said there is a particular need for the program in Yonkers — where both the jobless rate and the percentage of female heads of households are higher than the county- and statewide averages.

Women interested in applying for a spot in the program must live in Westchester County and hold either a high school diploma or a GED. The program is looking for women who are jobless or “under-employed.”

To sign up, call 914-963-0640 ext. 109.

The grant came from the state Labor Department and was allocated to the YWCA as part of the 2011 Regional Economic Development Council awards.

Also attending Monday’s press conference were state Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer as well as representatives from RCC and the state Labor Department

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  1. Certainly, but everyone needs to realise that adding Solar in their property is an purchase that will raise the actual valuation of their property if / when they decide to sell. With the environment the way it is going we cannot disregard any system that provides totally free energy at no cost to both the consumer and more importantly the world!