Many Santa Claritans are deeply involved in the lives of military servicemembers and veterans. They are our neighbors, friends and family members. But the sad truth is many of these men and women who serve their country and community come back home and have trouble finding steady jobs.
According to PBS, “the youngest veterans, aged 18-24, posted an ultra-high jobless rate of 21.4 percent” (2). That is a staggering number and is well above the national average. The question on everyone’s minds when they read that statistic is, how can we fix this? President Obama thinks solar could be the solution.
Many readers may be skeptical but solar does much more than generate clean, affordable energy. Solar panels save Santa Clarita citizens money. Solar panels reduce pollution. And, most importantly, solar panel installations create domestic jobs for working-class Americans. It is this aspect of the industry that President Obama is banking on to solve the veteran career crisis.
Even in our rocky economy, the solar industry is constantly growing due to subsidies and the rising prices of traditional forms of electricity. It is one of the few industries performing so strongly through tough times. In fact, according to SEIA, approximately 175,000 Americans are employed by United States solar industry (3).
President Obama believes the demand for solar will continue to increase and so too will the number of available jobs in the solar industry. He has laid out a plan to train service members to install solar. They will learn these techniques by installing solar on their own military bases. This, President Obama explained, will help give soldiers the skills they need to secure employment after their service is complete in the green tech field (1).
He announced this new plan at a Salt Lake City Air Force base last week. The plan will be implemented at nine other domestic military bases. This program is attached to Obama’s other initiative to train 75,000 solar workers in the next five years (1). It isn’t a bad plan and will hopefully lead to a lower unemployment rate for our brave men and women in uniform.