In 2012, under the leadership of Chairman Peter Jude, ChamberSOUTH received the first SERP (Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities) designations in Miami Dade County. This certification was for the green retrofitting of the Chamber’s 1950’s building. Aided by the creativity and passion of Ned Stieglitz and the expertise of Sebastian Eilert AIA, we accepted products and services from other like-minded companies and suppliers and re-opened our doors with a green ribbon-cutting! Through this process we learned that the industry lacked a skilled workforce for the installation of solar panel technology. With the help of a significant private contribution and support from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart’s office, FoundationSOUTH was charged with creating a skilled green workforce.
To date, FoundationSOUTH’s three Green Training classes graduated more than 20 community residents, both male and female. Each student in the Green Collar Workforce Training Program received an extensive amount of training and information through an introduction to Photovoltaic Systems. This included, but was not limited to the following topics: Safety and Electricity Basics, Solar Energy Fundamentals, Performance Analysis, Maintenance & Troubleshooting, Photovoltaics Electrical & Mechanical Design, Photovoltaics Markets & Applications, and Solar
FoundationSOUTH’s lofty goals would require the help of several employers from within and outside the industry. Invaluable assistance was provided by Mr-Solar, Cutler Bay Solar Solutions, HF Electric, Florida Solar Institute, Florida Quality Roofing, Jackson Health System and the State Attorney’s Office.
Krispy Kreme and Miami Grill generously supplied food during the work-match opportunity, which took place at the Macedonia Church of God and Christ. FoundationSOUTH is grateful for their support.
The ten students featured for this article were well prepared with professional resumes by The Right Write’s Stephanie Etter, business etiquette training and wardrobe coaching by Rose Hedgemond of Avenues of Excellence, and mock job interviews by FoundationSOUTH Director, Mary Scott Russell. This, along with 40 hours of technical training, ensured maximum opportunity for success. At the time of this publishing, two had secured positions and five others were in the interview process.
ChamberSOUTH is proud to support FoundationSOUTH’s efforts to provide the skilled workforce for what promises to be a burgeoning new industry in South Florida. To learn more about the foundation and ChamberSOUTH, The Small Business Championsm, please call the chamber office at 305.661.1621.