West Virginia man works to boost solar industry in his home state » Yale Climate Connections – Yale Climate Connections

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Conner Marshall is a senior at Wayne High School in Wayne, West Virginia. One day a week, instead of going to class, he heads up onto rooftops to help install solar panels.

Marshall: “I lay the panels, get the panels ready to be laid, pack the panels up the ladder.”

Marshall is part of a paid apprenticeship program with Solar Holler, a solar developer.

Conant: “It’s not a stand around and look kind of apprenticeship. It’s get in there, get your hands dirty, and you’re really installing as part of the team.”

Dan Conant, the company’s founder, grew up in West Virginia. He says he and many of his peers felt they had to move away to find good jobs.

Now he’s back, working to grow the solar industry in the state and help create new career paths for young people in the region.

Conant: “We wanted to give people the chance to latch onto a career and stay at home … and close to family.”

He says so far, Solar Holler has trained 15 apprentices. Most have continued on as employees after graduating.

Marshall says the experience has shown him how fast the solar industry is growing.

Marshall: “We have jobs on top of jobs, I never would have thought.”

So with hands-on training in the field, he and other apprentices will have the option to stay local and work in solar.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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