Farmworkers to Install Solar Photovoltaic Systems Tomorrow

AFOP Member HELP-New Mexico Provides Essential Job Training Services through the NFJP

January 27, 2012–HELP-New Mexico, Inc., a statewide community-based organization headquartered in Albuquerque, has prepared 11 farmworkers to obtain a certification that will provide them with the skills, knowledge, and ability to work together with journeyman electricians to design and install solar panel systems. This 48-hour training will culminate with a hands-on solar panel installation of a system on the homes of two low-income families in Berino, New Mexico. Funding is provided via a grant from the Community Services Block Grant and the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

“The class has provided workforce participants, many of whom are currently unemployed and/or underemployed, with a way to enhance their skills in targeted industries and provide them with a ‘leg up’ in the job market,” states Roni Spetalnick, Southwest Regional Manager, HELP-NM.

Classes began on November 15, 2011, at the El Paso Electricians Apprenticeship Training Facility where a journeyman electrician/trainer worked together with our New Mexico trainees preparing them to take the entry level North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification exam. On January 28, 2012, in Berino, New Mexico, these trainees will use these skills to actually install systems on two homes built by Tierra Del Sol Housing, a nonprofit agency that builds affordable homes for low income individuals. They will work under the guidance and direction of a local solar installation company, Border Solar.

John Martinez, HELP-NM’s Executive Director said, “preparing the workforce for the economy of the future, while assisting local non-profits to reduce their carbon footprint is at the core of our mission. The solar photovoltaic workforce training session’s goal is to prepare individuals with new skill sets and the ability to command higher wages. At the same time a local non-profit builder will be able to pass on the opportunity to low-income homeowners to reduce energy costs by creating electricity.”

The solar panel installations will take place at 1232 and 1240 Aero Lane in Berino, NM beginning at 9:00 AM. For further information regarding the training and the installations in Berino, New Mexico, please contact Roni Spetalnick at (575) 642-1008, or Victor Cabrera at (575) 642-5146.

HELP-New Mexico’s mission is to create self-sufficiency and promote economic opportunities to strengthen families throughout New Mexico. HELP-NM has over 220 staff in 35 offices and/or Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten Centers throughout New Mexico. For additional comment or interview, please contact Rita Garcia McManus at (505) 766-4950.

The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is the national federation of nonprofit and public agencies that provide training and employment services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. For additional comment or interview, please contact Ayrianne Parks at (202) 828-6006 x140 or Parks(at)AFOP(dot)org.

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