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Solar – Powered Training to Ignite Green Power in Eastern Ontario

2010-09-15

A collaboration to train Leeds and Grenville workers to install commercial solar panels and capitalize on the growing interest in solar power generation was officially launched today at the Employment and Education Centre in Brockville. Funded with a $503,300 Ontario Trillium Foundation Future Fund grant, the “Sunnyville” program will equip participants with skills to meet the increasing demand for skilled labour in the photovoltaic (solar panel) field.

"I'm excited about this funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation because it puts Leeds-Grenville at the forefront in the field of solar technology in Ontario," said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville." This program also guarantees that local workers will have the opportunity to get the skills they need to thrive in an emerging sector of our economy."

Sunnyville is a partnership among Upper Canada Solar Limited, St. Lawrence College, the Employment and Education Centre (EEC) and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This three-year project will provide training to 48-60 participants through two programs – the Solar Photovoltaic System Installer Certificate (2010/2011) and the Installer/Manufacturing Certificate (2011/2012).

“One of our key objectives is to maximize the local and regional sustainable benefits of the emerging solar industry in Eastern Ontario. I want to congratulate St. Lawrence College, Brockville campus and the Employment and Education Centre for their professional and pro-active response to this opportunity. We look forward to working with our partners to bring needed jobs to this area,” outlined Joe Jordan, President of Upper Canada Solar Ltd.

Sunnyville will help create a skilled workforce ready to work in the growing solar power sector, which will in turn serve as a ‘strong selling point’ for solar technology businesses looking to locate or expand into Eastern Ontario.

By adding solar generation to current training offerings in the areas of biomass and wind turbine technology, St. Lawrence College will be positioned as the ‘go to’ regional education centre for alternative energy source training.

"St. Lawrence College is committed to innovation in the environmental sustainability segment. We will continue to develop and promote partnerships and seek long-term integrated solutions; meeting the goals of both commercial partners and community based foundations. We look forward to continuing to add value to our partners through training and learning services providing essential skills for the green collar workforce of tomorrow, said Charlie Mignault, Director of Business Development at St. Lawrence College.

Participants accepted into the Solar Photovoltaic System Installer Certificate Program will complete a total of 18 weeks of in-classroom training at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, followed by 26 weeks of paid field placement. The combination of theoretical and practical training will enhance participants’ job opportunities.

The Employment and Education Centre will recruit and assess participants while Upper Canada Solar Ltd. will provide the training materials and arrange field placements. The Brockville campus of St. Lawrence College will provide the training curriculum, developed in collaboration with employers in the field to ensure current skills-specific education.

"We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Trillium Foundation for the next three years. This is a unique opportunity for our community as we are one of only four such initiatives in Ontario. With our partners St. Lawrence College and Upper Canada Solar Ltd. we will be providing opportunities for training and job placements in this exciting field of solar energy production," stated Sherri Simzer, Executive Director of the Employment and Education Centre.

A leading grant maker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities. www.trilliumfoundation.org

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For more information: Sue Watts at the Employment & Education Centre

Information sessions will begin in October 2010.
To register for an information session: Call the Employment & Education Centre at 613-498-2111 or 1-800-926-0777.