One of the significant challenges facing offenders as they leave prison is finding a good job – especially one that provides an opportunity for growth. It has been shown that steady employment reduces recidivism and increases the likelihood of full participation in society. Within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections (ODRC), at the Richland Correctional Institution’s Reintegration Unit, offenders have a chance to learn skills that contribute to those outcomes. Green Energy Ohio is proud to have been among the original coalition of partners that provided in-kind services and materials, contributing to the success of the program.
The Understanding Photovoltaics program provides 12-week training classes in solar technology and installation for approximately 20 offenders at time. Students spend 4 hours a week in the classroom and another 2 hours a week working on solar panel technology on sight. Out of each class, three to five top performers in the class are selected to take the Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA) certification test. The students have a 94% passing rate with the majority scoring with over 90% on the exam. Green Energy Ohio assists with placement by distributing resumes to our member solar installation companies.
Other supporters of the program included the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network, YellowLite, Blue Rock Station, Dovetail Solar and Wind, Solar from Seaward, Second Chance Solar, Backwoods Solar, the Rahus Institute – Solar Schoolhouse, and the Richland Correctional Institution’s Recycling Program.