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Evaluation of the Bright Solar Futures Program

Evaluation of the Bright Solar Futures Program

Client: Philadelphia Energy Authority, 2019 – 2022

Study objective: Examine the key strategies and implementation practices of the Bright Solar Futures Program and track program performance.

Policy context: In 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy funded innovative research project, including Bright Solar Futures, to support the development of a growing solar workforce. The Bright Solar Futures program provides training to young Philadelphians to help them obtain the skills needed to fill the worker shortage in the solar industry.

Research design. Conduct an implementation and outcomes assessment study to examine program strategies to achieve its objectives and to track program performance. The study relies on collecting and analyzing qualitative data through document reviews and stakeholder interviews, as well as analysis of quantitative data collected via surveys and individual educational records.

Policy impact. Findings show that the program was successful in engaging its target population in training curricula that specifically target the green energy sector. Best program practices include the use of experienced, well-trained instructors and educators, engagement of students with subject matter experts, comprehensive case management to monitor student progress and improve retention, and leveraging resources from employers and other community-based organizations. Results from this study are used to inform decisions about future implementation practices and to aid efforts to replicate the program in other contexts. The study also provided recommendations for an impact evaluation that would provide rigorous evidence on the program’s success.

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