75,000 Solar Industry Jobs by 2020!


The White House’s climate change goals, which call for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by up to 28% by 2025, could be a major boon for jobs in the solar industry.

The Obama Administration is announcing actions to supporting our veterans in getting a share of those job opportunities. The president unveiled a plan to train 75,000 solar workers including veterans, by 2020. This is an increase from the previous goal of training 50,000 solar workers by 2020 announced in May 2014.

The Department of Energy, (DOE), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), launched The Solar Ready Vets program at ten military bases on Friday, April 3, a program which prepares veterans to work in the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has praised the move. SEIA President Rhone Resch has estimated that the solar industry will likely surpass the goal of 75,000 new jobs by 2020.

The pilot program on Camp Pendleton had already produced results: Of the 20 Marines, who completed training on February 13, each received at least one job offer from the five major U.S. solar firms who are recruiting as part of the program.

The DOE provides four to six weeks of free training to veterans who are transitioning from active military duty to the private sector. The training program is based on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers and is tailored to build on the skills that veterans have acquired through their service. This accelerated training will prepare them for careers in the solar industry as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has committed to working with DOE to direct some GI Bill funding to the program. Over time, this approval will allow more veterans across the country to use their GI Bill benefits to participate in this job-driven training program through local community colleges, where they will quickly learn the skills needed for good-paying jobs in the solar industry.  The Department of Labor (DOL), will work with DOD to make sure that transitioning service members are made aware of solar workforce training programs available to them in their last months of military service.

Veterans possess important skills that transfers easily to the civilian workforce. We at America’s Job Exchange are committed to supporting veteran hiring and applaud all employers who recruit veterans. Additionally, we service some solar industry employers who regularly list their jobs with us. For more information, please visit http://www.americasjobexchange.com/


As a company that focuses on helping companies ensure they have a diverse work place, we, at America’s Job Exchange, were pleased to see that’s becoming more and more important to employees. The SHRM Talent Expo’s 2015 job satisfaction and engagement report, published on April 28, 2015, brought to light the following:

  • In the last four years, the percentage of respondents that listed aspects of job satisfaction, rated “Organization’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce” as “Very Important”: (2011) 22%, (2012) 27%, (2013) 28%, and (2014) 29%.

To see the full report click here

As evidenced by the above, hiring diversity is an essential business concern as it’s continuing to play an important role in employee satisfaction.  In addition, as markets expand globally, being able to understand clients and their needs across cultures and regions is crucial.  A multicultural, talented and trained employee pool gives a company that key advantage.   

It’s important for companies to target their efforts to this employment sector and develop multi-tiered methods to reach these distinct employees. One of the most important first steps is to perform a survey of all your departments to pinpoint which areas need more development and can benefit from the addition of diverse talent. From there, your job ads should have verbiage that’s all-inclusive, but even more importantly job goals should be appealing to all groups.

Hiring diversity should not be just a noble goal of companies.  It makes tremendous economic sense for companies to do so and based on the recently released numbers, is important for job satisfaction.

Visit AJE Diversity Exchange for more information.  Contact us here.


Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans—the Real Benefits to Your Company


By: Cindy Karrow of Berkshire Associates

I am frequently asked for examples of the benefits derived by companies who hire Individuals with Disabilities (IWD) and Veterans. Often this question comes from an Affirmative Action Planning (AAP) Manager who is looking for support from staffing representatives, hiring managers, and/or executives for their company’s outreach and recruitment activities. This support may take the form of budget dollars—at job fairs or time spent searching for the best recruitment sources online. Everyone wants to know what the benefits are going to be—what is the return on this investment? This article will explore some of the benefits.

Why should you recruit IWD and Veterans? Most employers are looking for the best talent to make their organizations successful. This usually means jobs are being posted everywhere possible—job boards, state job service websites, career pages, and social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). Some organizations are paying third parties to handle the heavy lifting of posting, interviewing, and making recommendations on who to select. Regardless of the methods, your company is out there looking for and competing with other companies for talent.

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, one of the primary reasons to engage IWD and Veterans in your quest for talent is because it shows good faith toward fulfilling your obligations under the AAP regulations. There are other reasons as well—there is a large pool of qualified workers out there who are disabled and/or Veterans, it is good for your public image, there may be tax breaks, and it is good business.

There are a consistent set of skills most employers believe Veterans bring to the civilian workplace. Each of these translates to a desirable quality or skill that business leaders are looking for in employees:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Diversity
  • Core values
  • Self-direction
  • Ability to meet deadlines and handle stress
  • Time management
  • Planning and organizing
  • Ability to conform to rules and structure
  • Strong organizational commitment
  • Ability to accomplish a mission with very little supervision
  • Adept at skills transfer from one task/project to another
  • Work harder, longer, and do not take as many sick days as non-Veterans
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience


Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, has this to say about commitment to hiring Veterans in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal:

Commitment means that the 99% of Americans who never served in the military must find more ways now to match the contribution that the uniformed 1% have made. Businesses can do this by hiring veterans. Starbucks and other companies have announced plans to hire thousands of veterans over the next few years. Citizens can do it by building more programs to help veterans apply their remarkable skill set—leadership, grace under pressure, teamwork under the most complex circumstances—to civic life.

Sometimes it is difficult to see what skills and abilities a Veteran brings to the table, because translating military experience, skills, and education into civilian job duties literally requires a translator. A quick Internet search will produce several military skills translators including some that employers have placed on their own career sites. Use the translation information to let Veterans know how they are qualified for your open jobs.

Learn more about recruitment, hiring, and retention of Veterans by starting with the CareerOneStop Business Center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. http://www.careeronestop.org/businesscenter/recruitandhire/wheretofindcandidates/hire-a-vet.aspx Or, download a publication from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) entitled Support from Behind the Lines: 10 Steps to Becoming a Military-Ready Employer. http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Toolkits/Documents/12-0177%20Behind_the_Lines_Toolkit_FNL.pdf

Companies are motivated to recruit and hire IWD for similar reasons as cited above for recruiting and hiring Veterans. Additionally there are studies to suggest there may be a link to increased revenue potential for employing IWD. Here are two statistics from the National Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities http://www.worksupport.com/research/viewContent.cfm/637

  • 92% of the respondents felt more favorable toward companies that hire IWD
  • 87% agreed they would prefer to give their business to a company that hires IWD

There are some other benefits derived from recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD:

  • Product improvement
  • Technology and service innovations
  • Increased access to buildings, parking, public areas
  • Expanded products and services
  • Tax incentives
  • Enhance shareholder value
  • Access to new markets

Some of these benefits may not seem readily apparent, however, social issues can turn into business opportunities. Consider what happened at Walgreens when it implemented accommodations for workers with disabilities. The end result was a new universal design that increased efficiency for its distribution centers in Anderson, S.C., and Windsor, Conn.

SunTrust Banks’ Mid-Atlantic Chairman, President and CEO CT Hill is quoted on the Employer Assistance and Resource website (askearn.org):

Hiring individuals with disabilities is, in fact, good for business.  The return on investment to SunTrust can be measured in several ways. One, it helps our diversity initiatives, building a strong workforce; two, it helps us to develop products and services, expanding our customer base; and three, it enables us to reach out to our entire community. It’s good for shareholders and it’s good for business. http://www.askearn.org/businesscase/roi_level2.asp

There are a wealth of organizations and websites that can provide assistance and guidance to employers, whether you are just beginning a campaign to recruit IWD, or your processes are well established.  A good place to begin is with the Employer Assistance and Resource website (askearn.org).  EARN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) under a cooperative agreement from the Viscardi Center. In addition to articles, notices, and references, you can read about other employers’ initiatives and success stories.

Berkshire Associates understands the importance of recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD and Veterans. To learn more about these efforts, read the following article, “Top Talent Requirements are Met When You Hire a Vet.”










Job Hunt Strategies for Women


Women are being hired in higher numbers, but perhaps for jobs that they may not want as careers.  Often, these jobs are low paying and women are compromising  just so they can get employed.  The recruiting specialists at America’s Job Exchange (AJE) have the following tips for women for a successful and more satisfying job search in 2015.

Start Now!

You might want to find the most optimal time to start searching for your dream job but you do not need to wait for that perfect moment-start right away!  There is no need to be completely ready.  Plunge right in and start the process.

 What are you Looking For?

You have to indulge in self-reflection to determine what your professional goals are keeping in mind that it needs to be realistic and it should be based on your current strengths.  What are you good at and what are happiest doing? Where do you see yourself in five years?  What kinds of people and professional environment do you want to be a part of?  Being able to come up with clear, defined answers to these questions will help you structure your job search.  You should also assess honestly your needs and have a plan of action to overcome them.

 Sharpen Your Skills

You have to research skills currently in demand in the line of work you are seeking and then polish them up.  If you do not have the necessary skills, then you need to acquire them.  The Internet has numerous free resources and guides.  You can also take a class or have a friend teach you a certain skill.  Strategic volunteering and creating a blog that highlight the skills that you possess for the job are other options to try.

 Avoid common job-search pitfalls

Women often being the primary care givers in the family, find it hard to make time to conduct an effective job search.  It is imperative that you make quality time every day to go about your job hunt.  Have family members help you out with childcare and you can return the favor by cooking a great meal or giving up your time for something they need.  Perhaps a baby sitter a few times a week is not a bad idea if you can afford it.  Or if your child is of school going age, max out the time he is away to conduct your job search.  The thing to remember is that till you land your job, looking for a job is your full time job whether it be online applying, researching or networking.  Devoting just a few hours a week will not do you any good.  Also, when people know you are home they tend to call to chat or visit and that can take up precious time.  You have to be able to say no graciously, but firmly to those invitations, and make it clear that you are busy with your job search. Guard your time fiercely!

 Increase your Marketability

Carefully build your brand and launch a conscious marketing campaign.  Your primary marketing tool is your resume so pay very close attention to it.  Study samples online and use resource books.  If needed get your resume professionally written.  Social media is the way to go these days so use those platforms wisely.  Make sure your message is consistent and that you are using keyword rich language in LinkedIn and Facebook.  Maintaining a blog is a good idea as it shows knowledge, passion, dedication and discipline.

 Prepare for Your Interview

The interview is your foot in the door opportunity so carefully prepare for it.  Weave your success stories in the answers that you give.  Be clear on the following three areas:  What challenges did you face, how did you overcome them and what results can you showcase?  Present a positive attitude and show excitement for the position.

Ask Questions

An interview is not a one sided conversation.  Companies expect you to ask questions in the interview too.  You could ask about the growth potential of the position, if you are required to manage anyone under you, what kind of work you can expect your first year, what your interviewer most enjoys about the company/organization, how much guidance is made available for people in career developing roles, what is their idea of an ideal employee and so forth.


For more guidance on making your job search in 2015 a successful one, visit the AJE Women Exchange  page to get advice on resume writing, top career choices for women, Federal Agency Resources for Women and other resources.


Recruitment Trends that Will Impact Hiring in 2015


This year, flexible hiring, such as contractors and consultants might be a growing trend.  The unemployment rate is much improved at 5.5% as opposed to what it was four years ago which was at around 9%. From 14 million people unemployed in 2011, it has dropped to about 8 million in 2015.  However, the truth is that there are many who are still unemployed. Many job seekers are more than willing to consider alternatives to full-time employment. Reducing hours per week, offering flexible work schedules, or getting a consulting opportunity are alternatives that could be considered.

Diversity hiring and globalization will impact your business. With many companies conducting business in this global economy, employers will continue to see the need to diversify their workforce; this means bringing in the right talent that can adapt to different cultures, languages and skill sets.

Social media will remain an important part of the hiring process. Sourcing candidates on social media networks is and will continue to be an important part of the hiring process. With the ability to reach a broad, targeted audience, not to mention a great resource for cross-checking candidates, backgrounds, social media recruiting is here to stay. Many employers are also conducting video interviews, in lieu of investing in travel expenses.

Your employer brand is bigger than the four walls of your business. With social networks and the instantaneous access to information, your online brand presence will impact how your brand is perceived offline and the types of candidates you source. It’s not unusual for current, former or prospective employees to blog about your company – with both positive and negative implications. How you manage your recruiting practices and employee relations will impact your hiring practices.

Companies will continue to rely on a streamlined labor pool. With many companies trying to survive economic upheavals or uncertainly, some are opting to either put a freeze on hiring or hire only necessary workers. This means recruiting will play an even more vital role in sourcing the right candidates with the right skill sets. Finding candidates with a wider-range of experience is important, but also sourcing candidates who have the right attitude and willingness to be flexible about their job roles is just as important.

AJE is attending an important recruiting conference, The SHRM Talent Exposition, April 27-29, at San Diego, California and will be exhibiting its recruitment and OFCCP compliance solutions.  Check out our event page.

For additional information please follow the link and fill out a form.  A sales personnel will be in touch soon.  Thank you!


New OFCCP Sex Discrimination Rule is Effective April 8, 2015


President Obama signed EO 13672 on July 14, 2014, extending protections against workplace discrimination to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) community. He amended Executive Order 11246 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The OFCCP on December 9, 2014, issued its final rule implementing Executive Order 13672. It requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants and employees are treated fairly without considering their sexual orientation or gender identity during their employment. The Rule is effective April 8, 2015, and applies to all new or modified federal contracts and subcontracts after that date. The Rule however, does not burden federal contractors with the same data collection and analysis obligations that are required with respect to females and minorities.

The new rules will touch on “compensation discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to provide workplace accommodations for pregnancy, and gender identity and family caregiver discrimination, among other topics.” This is an attempt to modernize these rules which has not been updated since 1970.

Several statutes related to sex discrimination, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, did not exist when the guidelines were published first in 1970, nor did many of the regulations and guidance published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which have a profound effect on employer decisions and policies.

In an effort to align its requirements with EEOC guidance and with recent case law, the OFCCP proposes to enforce new rules, including:

  • A requirement that parental leave be made available for men and women on equal terms.
  • A requirement that employers provide accommodations for women affected by pregnancy and childbirth.
  • A clear prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • A prohibition on harassment and hostile work environments.
  • A prohibition on making employment decisions on the basis of sex-based stereotypes.

The new rules, which will no longer be called “guidelines”, make clear that they have the force and effect of law. The OFCCP also hopes that the new rules will advance the employment status of female employees by clarifying its rules concerning harassment, gender stereotyping, and benefits.