Twenty-five residents received an orientation to the Virgin Islands’ first Solar Water Heating Installation Training Program on the morning of July 31, in the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center. The V. I. Energy Office (VIEO), the V.I. Department of Labor and the V.I. Department of Education are partnering in the program being funded in part by the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009.
The students heard from Willard John, principal of the educational center, who said the program covered a new and emerging technology and the program offered residents an opportunity to get a foot in the door for a new career. He outlined the four components of the 10-week training: online classroom; pre-construction basics; hands-on, in–shop training; and on the job training. He emphasized that there would be support for the students to help them develop into this trade. He said, “We have your back.”
Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr. also spoke to the students and said the reason the department was excited about the program was because any one looking at the future could see that the future was in green trades. He said, “No one is thinking about building a house now without thinking of incorporating some sort of alternative energy.” He hoped the training would encourage the students to take advantage of entrepreneurial and manufacturing opportunities.
Patricia Lord, program administrator at the VIEO, told the students, “We are investing in you and we want you to succeed.” She added that she saw the program developing the renewable energy market in the V.I. as well as creating jobs. Instructors Kelly Gloger and Labon Rogers also spoke about the future of green energy.
In this initial training project, the V.I. government hopes to train 75 residents – 30 from St. Croix, 30 from St. Thomas and 15 from St. John. Bryan mentioned that classes will be started on St. Thomas in the near future.
Information about the program is available at the Energy Office, a division of the Governor’s Office, at 773-1082 on St. Croix or 774-3320 on St. Thomas or St. John; or the V.I. Career Technical & Adult Education Institute: Raphael O. Wheatley Skill Center St. Thomas, at 774-6277; or St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center, Kingshill, St. Croix at778-2216.