Apprenticeships: Making an Impact After Your Term of Service

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A guide for young people who are completing service programs like AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps and seeking a transition to clean energy careers.

You’ve completed your years of service in AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or many similar programs. How can you continue making a difference? America’s growing clean energy sector offers a prime opportunity for young Americans with a background in service who are entering the job market.

So how can you break in to the clean energy industry? Read on to find out about Registered Apprenticeships: a time-honored way to learn on the job while you start earning money right now.

This resource was prepared by Service Year Alliance.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships allow workers to earn progressive wage increases as they advance through training that prepares them for a career in an in-demand occupation. Registered Apprenticeships combine structured on-the-job training, under the supervision of a mentor, with related classroom instruction that leads to a nationally recognized credential. An apprenticeship typically takes between 2-5 years to complete, and in many ways, the credential earned is similar to a college degree in a particular field of study. 

Who Should Consider Pursuing an Apprenticeship Opportunity?

Apprenticeships can be valuable for a variety of individuals of all ages and across different stages of their life, education, and career. The earn-while-learning nature of apprenticeships creates equitable opportunities for individuals to pursue family sustaining careers while helping to avoid educational debt. Recent high school or college graduates can gain industry-specific skills and enhance their overall employability towards careers that are not limited to entry-level positions. Many apprenticeship programs will prepare individuals to enter into traditional trades, such as careers in electrical work. Others offer opportunities for individuals to pursue managerial or office-based career paths. 

Courtesy Service Year Alliance

What Are the Opportunities Within the Clean Energy Sector?

As a result of our nation’s recent investments to combat climate change, it is estimated that more than 9 million good-paying jobs related to climate and environmental resilience will be created over the next 10 years. Employers, especially those within the clean energy sector, are seeking to attract diverse talent to fill these impactful positions. Below are some examples of the growing apprenticeship opportunities adjacent to the clean energy sector.

Why are national service alums a valuable applicant pool for clean energy employers?

Some of the key attributes that are commonly developed during a service year that strongly resonate with clean energy employers include: being mission driven, community engagement experience, compassionate customer service, willingness to travel, knowledge of tool use and safety, drivers training, work etiquette and ethic, communication skills, teamwork & collaboration, problem solving abilities, ability to work in inclement weather and environments, experience with data entry.

Where can you go to learn more about clean energy career paths and apprenticeships?

About the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) was selected by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship to serve as an Industry Intermediary for Registered Apprenticeships for clean energy. Through the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network, IREC leads a national coalition of industry, training, and workforce development leaders to expand and diversify Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the rapidly evolving clean energy sector.

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