Veterans graduate from green training program

April 18, 2011 6:57:22 PM PDT
There were no caps or gowns at one graduation ceremony in Pleasant Hill, just a set of power tools, ladders and several solar panels that needed installation. It was an uncommon ceremony to mark the end of the latest session of the Green Energy Training Program at Diablo Valley College, designed to give veterans a leg up in a tough job market.

"We're here training the veterans through Swords to Plowshares in how to install photovoltaic systems for the new job training market," said DVC instructor Curt Bradley. Student Joaquin Gomez is a member of the California National Guard who recently served for a year in Iraq as part of Operating Enduring Freedom. "It's not hard to get into this program," said Gomez. "If you're a veteran looking for jobs, they've been helpful." The DVC program is jointly funded by the California Employment Development Department and the federal Department of Labor.

Gary Fernandez served in the U.S. Air Force during Operation Desert Storm. For nine years, he ran a successful construction business, but then the bad economy forced him to close up shop. Fernandez believes the Green Training Program is invaluable to veterans. "It's a way that they can have some tools to get back into society and reintegrate, to open a business," explained Fernandez. "I just hope they don't cut the funding."

Graduation is just one step in the process. Over the past two years, about 70 percent of the program's 100 graduates have moved on to successful employment. "We help them with their resume. We do mock interviews," said Anthony Sordina with Swords to Plowshares. "We also do outreach to employers to make connections for all of the people in our classes."

Veterans interested in getting more information about the Green Energy Training Program can contact Coleen Evans with Swords to Plowshares at (510) 891-8773, ext. 329,

Load Comments