Frequently Asked Questions and Answers are listed below. If you still have questions, contact David Bessette, Chair, Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship Program or Colleen Kettles, Secretary, Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship Program.
Why should I become a Participating Employer in the Florida Solar Energy Apprenticeship Program?
The solar apprenticeship gives contractors in Florida a higher level of confidence that their employees will receive a well-rounded education and relevant training leading to a highly competent worker who will become an asset to their company. The program can also lead to support from state and local agencies that fund both classroom and on the job training in targeted occupations, such as solar energy installers. The Apprenticeship Program is sponsored by the Participating Employers, who determine the “standards” for apprenticeship, including training content, delivery, and apprentice eligibility.
How do I become a Participating Employer?
Participating Employers are required to sign an employer agreement, be a member in good standing of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA), and be based in Florida. The primary responsibilities of the Employer include:
- Screen and select applicants for apprenticeship.
- Pay the apprentice at least the prevailing wage established by the standards with progressive pay increases as the apprentice moves through the program.
- Provide the apprentice with guided on the job training and access to related classroom instruction.
- Assign a journeyworker to the apprentice and ensure effective communications, program monitoring and support for successful completion of the apprenticeship program.
- Document and maintain detailed records of each apprentices’ work experience, training progress (both on-the-job and in related classroom instruction), and wage pay levels.
- Abide by the standards of apprenticeship and appendix as approved by the Florida Department of Education.
How do I find an apprentice for my company?
The program is structured so that a candidate is eligible for an apprenticeship once they join the employment of a “Participating Employer” and meet the other requirements for participation. Apprentices must be Florida residents, have graduated high school or possess a GED, have a valid driver’s license, and be at least 18 years old. If you have new employees that would benefit from an apprenticeship, they may be eligible for the program. FlaSEIA and FSEC also receive inquiries from potential apprentices and provide these leads to Participating Employers for consideration.
How much will it cost me to participate in the solar apprenticeship program?
Participating Employers will be responsible for paying the wages of the apprentice according to the Apprenticeship Standards, which includes periodic pay increases as the apprentice moves through the program. The Employer will also be expected to contribute to the cost of training the apprentice. Currently, the formal classroom training is expected to cost approximately $3,000 for two years of “related technical instruction.” This training includes online instruction as well as in-person hands on laboratories. The apprentice receives wages during on the job training but does not for the related technical instruction. Employers are advised to contact their local CareerSource offices to determine if they are eligible for financial support for their apprentices’ training.
How do I become a Solar Energy Apprentice?
In order for you to become an apprentice, you must be hired by a Participating Employer, be a Florida resident, have graduated high school or possess a GED, have a valid driver’s license, be at least 18 years old, and meet other job related requirements.
What kind of training will I receive as an Apprentice?
The apprenticeship requires two years of on the job training to be provided by the employer and 296 hours of related technical instruction. The cost of the related technical instruction cannot be paid by the apprentice, so the employer is responsible for covering this cost. The apprentice will receive a competitive wage during their on the job training. However, the employer is not required to pay the apprentice for the time they are participating in the related technical instruction.
How do I know what companies are participating in the program?
Participating Employers can be found on the Home Page of this website. In addition, FlaSEIA and FSEC will sponsor outreach events to connect employers and potential apprentices. New employers will be added to the program, so check back often.