One girl likes the idea of helping families own their power supply at home. Her classmate prefers the eco-friendly nature of a solar-powered world, while another wants to learn how solar panels are installed on rooftops so that he can land a good job once he graduates from high school.
Welcome to SolarMax University, which has made its debut at Aurora High School in San Bernardino County. The forward-thinking career technical education program, developed through a partnership between renewable energy company SolarMax Technology, Inc. and local education officials, seeks to equip youngsters with the job-ready skills needed to thrive in one of the fastest growing sectors of clean technology.
SolarMax Technology selected San Bernardino County for the pilot program due to the area’s relatively large high school dropout rate. According to the most recent statistics from the California Department of Education, more than 4,000 students failed to complete their high school education. While the percentage of dropouts fell to 12.2%, a 1% decline, the county lags behind other regions in terms of graduation rates.
“We can’t afford to fail when it comes to educating our kids,” says SolarMax Technology Executive Vice President Ching Liu. “There are so many career opportunities in an industry like ours, but the skill sets required aren’t necessarily available through traditional educational models. SolarMax University can help change that dynamic.”
Company officials worked closely with educational professionals at the district and school level to shape coursework and study. Classes take place in the mornings and are embedded within the Aurora High School core curriculum.
An active community partner throughout the Inland Empire and Southern California, SolarMax Technology maintains strong ties to education, business and civic causes – notably those focused on developing the next generation of leaders within clean tech. The renewable energy innovator funds a substantial endowment at the University of California-Riverside School of Business and has donated an estimated 800 thousand dollars worth of solar panels to the UCR Center for Environmental Research & Technology (C-CERT).
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.