First Cohort of New Mainers Graduate from Pre-Apprenticeship Program

On May 19th, ReVision Energy celebrated the first cohort to graduate from our pre-apprenticeship program, launched this spring in conjunction with Portland Adult Education (PAE), a leading provider of adult educational programs and workforce development initiatives. The Renewable Energy Careers: Introduction to Solar Installation and Heat Pumps Program is a pre-apprenticeship program, developed in partnership with PAE and Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS). The 9 week course prepares multilingual adults to enter (or re-enter) the field of renewable energy as a viable and sustainable career path.

PAE apprentices.pngAs the global shift toward clean, sustainable energy accelerates, the demand for skilled professionals in the renewable energy industry is rapidly increasing. The new program addresses this demand by connecting immigrants, refugees, and other New Mainers with comprehensive training and classroom instruction in solar installation and heat pump technology. Many of the New Mainers in the program come from a background in engineering and other fields closely related to clean energy solutions.

The program was co-taught by PATHS and PAE teachers, as well as industry experts from ReVision Energy. PATHS provided the space to learn through hands-on instruction and simulated projects. Other employer partners included Evergreen Home Performance, Maine Solar Solutions, and Royal River Heat Pumps.

"PAE is proud to collaborate with ReVision and PATHS to deliver this unique program," said Abbie Yamamoto, Executive Director of Portland Adult Education. "Our inaugural cohort consisted of 15 talented professionals representing diverse cultural, linguistic and professional backgrounds. Over the course of nine weeks, participants learned new skills to forge their career pathways and to establish valuable connections within the industry. It is exciting to see some of them re-enter their fields or related ones, and for some, starting their journey in a new career."

PAE apprentice.pngBefore coming to Maine in 2022, Manuela Kayembe studied civil engineering in her native Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her interest in sustainable energy solutions led her to PAE, where she enrolled in the program's first cohort.

She said, "Being part of the very first Renewable Energy Careers program was an exciting and rewarding experience. Being at the forefront of this program allowed me to learn about solar installation, energy efficiency, and the latest industry advancements. It also allowed me to meet with incredible people from engineering backgrounds and also meet and interact with many of Maine’s solar energy employers.” Manuela added, “My goal for the future is to make a meaningful impact in promoting clean energy and creating a more sustainable future.

PAE pre apprenticeship.pngVaughan Woodruff, VP of Workforce Development at ReVision Energy, spoke about the need for states like Maine to develop a robust workforce that will design, build, and maintain clean energy technologies. To develop this workforce, we need to support individuals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can adapt their expertise to work with technologies such as solar and heat pumps.

PAE graduation diplomas.jpegVaughan said, "We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Portland Adult Education to streamline pathways into renewable energy careers for new Mainers who bring a wealth of professional experience to our state and who will be instrumental in Maine’s effort to build the clean energy solutions needed to achieve our climate goals."

ReVision and PAE are now working to help every graduate find a job in the local clean energy space. Congratulations Graduates!

PAE's Renewal Energy Careers: Introduction to Solar Installation and Heat Pumps Program is a pre-apprenticeship program made possible thanks to funders including the Maine Department of Labor and the City of Portland. PAE anticipates another cohort in October 2023.