Skilled 4 Work: Getting a start in the solar industry | KOB 4

Skilled 4 Work: Getting a start in the solar industry

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: August 31, 2021 06:14 PM
Created: August 31, 2021 03:25 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After school, Matthew Bernauer thought he was going in one direction.

"Joined the Coast Guard after high school, I went to an alternative high school," Bernauer said. "Went to a couple different four-year colleges transferring around. Incurred a lot of debt and realized I wasn't going to end up with anything really to pay them off."

At CNM's Solar Eletric course, Bernauer ended up finding something he enjoyed. Solar technology took off with NASA in the space program. As the technology has advanced – so has its applications.

"The future of the industry is pretty much endless," said Marlene Brown, who teaches the basics of solar energy at CNM.

Brown has been in the solar game for almost three decades, and previously worked at Sandia National Labs.

"It's great for the planet, it's great for our community," Brown said. "We want to get people working."

With some financial assistance, Bernauer found himself in the two-year course to become certified to work on solar installs.

"When I was getting out of high school I, looking back, wish I started right away," he said. "I thought it was a lesser-than sort of option and looked over it. Ended up coming full circle."

Bernauer now has two children and a home – a future he never envisioned for himself without this job.

Those who are interested in getting a start in solar can do so with as little as one semester of training at CNM.


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