JTAs are produced by technical committees of
subject matter experts and reviewed periodically
to reflect changes in codes, technologies and
markets. But what happens when there are two,
three or more different standards for the same
job? What happens when there are different certifications being offered?
Certification is an area of mounting confusion in renewable energy training, with multiple
certificate programs and professional certifications and dueling credentials. A professional
certification award or a certificate document
measures different levels of proficiency and competency. What’s ultimately at stake is a consumer
who expects that a “certification” claim ensures
Sarah White and her colleagues at the Center
Find a Course Near You
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council Training Catalog: irecusa.org/trainingCatalog.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council Directory of University Courses in Renewable Energy:
on Wisconsin Strategy recently published a ter-
rific report, “Greener Skills: How Credentials
Create Value in the Clean Energy Economy.”
(Download the report at cows.org/greener-
skills.) The authors caution against fragmenta-
tion not only in the green-collar training system
but also with standards and credentials. They
write, “Developing common standards and
conferring commonly recognized credentials
for verified occupational skills offers a firm path
To this critical point, we would add that all
stakeholders — educators, the industry, govern-
ment and consumers — are important players
to monitor and confirm that credentialing pro-
grams offer reliable and impartial evaluations.
Ensuring Value Up to Users, Industry
Ultimately, anyone seeking renewable energy
training should ask some key questions before
signing up for a class: Who is the instructor?
What are their qualifications? Do they bring both
content and practical experience to the class?
How is hands-on learning incorporated? What
equipment is being used? And what kind of jobs
will the class lead to, where are they, and what
credentials and licenses are needed?
Just as important, educators and the industry should approach training with the same
attentiveness. It is up to the industry’s leaders
to ensure that instruction is based on industry-defined workplace knowledge, skills and attitudes that fully address issues of safety, codes
and jurisdictional requirements. ST
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