Employers on the hunt for laid-off Solyndra workers


When the shock wears off, laid-off Solyndria employees may find new jobs in Silicon Valley.

Echofirst, a three-year-old start-up in Fremont, says its recruiter has been looking for Solyndra employees on LinkedIn, the professional social networking website.

"We will have some employees in tomorrow," said Echofirst Chief Technology Officer Josh Plaisted. "Hopefully that's a softer cushion for Solyndra that not only us, but I'm sure other companies in the area are out scouring them, and they're getting emails as we speak."

Plaisted says good people are always in demand as it expands its residential solar systems for housing subdivision developers and for custom homes.

Flyers are already being distributed to invite laid-off workers to two workshops next week, organized by the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board. It will offer counseling, skill assessment and job training to the Solyndra employees.

"The best scenario would be to get the companies that are interested in the workforce to do things like on-the-job training where the employer makes the commitment to hire," said Patti Castro with the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board. "We put our resources in the training so they get trained and employed at the same work site."

The same day Solyndra shut down, Solaria announced expansion plans to keep up with demand for its photo-voltaic panels. The company does most of its production in Fremont with a second facility located in India.

It's not difficult to transfer skills from one solar company to another.

"There's an ecosystem of skill set and opportunities with solar companies that are transferrable between different companies," said Solaria CEO Daniel Shugar.

The Solyndra bankruptcy is also becoming a political issue in Washington. Last June, the Republican-controlled House Energy Committee began to question whether Solyndra got a federal stimulus loan because one of its investors is billionaire George Kaiser, an Obama campaign fundraiser.

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