Opinion: Solar helps keep young people in Vermont

On Aug. 16, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. I was in Jackson, Wyo., nervously awaiting a call from a potential employer, a solar energy company back in Vermont. After leaving Vermont for job opportunities out West, I knew the solar position was my chance to get back to a place I loved: Addison County. This was the job I wanted, in the place I wanted to be.
I first moved to Vermont full-time as a Middlebury College student in 2008. I had spent summers as a boy going to Camp Keewaydin in Salisbury and was excited to leave my flat and boring Connecticut homeland for life in the mountains. After graduating, it was disappointing to leave Vermont, and so I was enormously grateful that when the call came that August evening, it was good news.
Vermont solar companies like All Earth Renewables, GroSolar, and SunCommon are growing. Vermont’s young professionals can move into their newly created positions without having to wait for someone else to retire. The vibrancy and innovation of this industry is attractive. Plus, SunCommon and AllEarth Renewables were just listed by Vermont Business Magazine as two of the state’s best companies to work for.
I’m not the only new college graduate who wants to stay in Vermont; we just need opportunities to keep us here. As Gov. Shumlin said in his recent inaugural address, the solar and renewables industries are providing a place for us.
Next time you see a solar array, remember there is a community behind that array. Not only are those arrays powering our friends and neighbors, they’re fueling a new clean-energy economy.
There are over 15,000 people working in clean tech in Vermont, and I’m happy to be one of them.
R.J. Adler

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