Center for Applied Competitive Technologies – Professional & Workforce Development


SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative


The SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC) built collaborative relationships with various players in the renewable energy field to identify emerging labor needs and related skill sets. Working with Workforce Boards for talent placement and community colleges for skill development, SWIC helped move unemployed or underemployed professionals into the renewable energy jobs.

The close working relationship that the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) within the Foothill-De Anza CCD fostered with the emerging renewable energy industry and NOVA Workforce Board led to CACT being chosen as the training partner in the SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC). SWIC was awarded a $4M grant in June 2010 by the California Employment Development Department through its Green Innovations Challenge.

The Green Innovation Challenge (GIC) grants encouraged industry leaders to find innovative methods designed to meet the needs of businesses to not only fill immediate employment gaps, but also to develop partnerships and infrastructure flexible enough to support green employment growth for the future. 

As the education coordinator in the collaborative, the De Anza College CACT worked with community college partners Foothill College, Cabrillo College, Ohlone College, Skyline College, and the Solar Training Institute on programs such as:

  • Solar technical sales and proposal development
  • PV design engineering and manufacturing
  • Electric vehicle maintenance
  • Solar electric vehicle charging station installation
  • Convergence of energy efficiency and solar energy as a solution for both commercial and residential buildings.

The SWIC project built on an earlier project, the Silicon Valley Solar Industry Driven Regional Collaborative, which included many of the same partners.  The SV Solar IDRC, founded by Rick Kuhn and funded in September 2007, was a strategic regional response to meet the need for a skilled workforce in solar photovoltaic system design and installation. SWIC partners built on lessons learned from their earlier experience. SolarTech and San Jose State University researchers systematically reviewed workforce needs to insure the relevance of the training to jobs in the region.


Catherine Ayers, SWIC Program Manager,

For more information:

Center for Applied Competitive Technologies – Professional & Workforce Development
Building: FH 1944
Contact: Skip Barnes
Phone:  650.949.7797

Last Updated: 6/28/12