Dec 07, 2022
Meet Our Solar Education Group
This month, Secure Solar Futures launched its Solar Education Program Group. The new group will unify and expand our services to help our solar power customers at K-12 public and independent schools bring rooftop solar into the classroom. The group will also help community colleges train students for careers as solar power technicians with a path towards full-time employment for qualified graduates.
Secure Solar Futures brings a management team that is passionate about supporting this work, with many years of experience in teaching and education at various levels.
Over the last decade, our company has supplemented solar installations at K-12 schools with standards-compliant classroom curricula and instructional materials on clean energy, and teacher training to use these resources.
We also innovated the Throwing Solar Shade® as a project-based learning program for students to participate in citizen science projects developed in partnership with the Science Museum of Virginia. This year, with Mountain Empire Community College in Wise County, located in the historic coalfield region of Southwest Virginia, Secure Solar Futures piloted the state’s first-ever youth solar apprenticeship program to train solar technicians.
“In the course of developing solar energy at campuses across Virginia, we’ve learned that while schools value the money savings and environmental impact of generating their own clean energy, they also want to create jobs in their communities,” said Tony Smith, president and founder of Secure Solar Futures. “In response to this demand, and in partnership with schools, we developed a unique community-based demand-pull workforce development program to bring clean energy and career training for well-paying clean energy jobs for their students.”
To staff the Solar Education Solutions group, the company hired two veterans of workforce development, classroom teaching and state government.
Devyn Keller will head the new group, bringing more than a decade of experience as a classroom teacher and official with the Virginia Department of Energy, where she assisted in organizing clean energy summit conferences while managing the agency’s efforts to support local workforce development programs. At the department, she also developed plans for an online informational hub for students and teachers about energy education resources, while leveraging federal funding to diversify the clean energy workforce.
In her new role, Keller plans to continue to remain active in the Virginia Energy Workforce Consortium, where she believes that Secure Solar Futures will offer valuable resources and build partnerships with the group of industry, education, non-profit, and government partners.
“At Secure Solar Futures, I look forward to building on the company’s strong foundation of solar education programs, especially Throwing Solar Shade and solar apprenticeships, to help schools and community colleges make solar careers accessible to all types of students.”
Britni Arrington brings nearly a decade of experience in community-based workforce and economic development as well as teaching in school and youth center environments. With the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life for low-to-moderate income individuals living in the Southeast United States, Arrington helped obtain grant funding and provided technical assistance to communities for job training and economic revitalization.
“It was important to me that Secure Solar Futures was committed to the triple bottom line of profits, people and planet as a Certified B Corporation,” said Arrington. “I look forward to continue to help schools empower young people to take on challenges like the climate crisis by leveraging the resources of the private sector.”
Written by: Amethyst Ralls