FIU’s Construction Trades Program offered by the Moss Department of Construction Management at the College of Engineering and Computing is the first in the nation to launch a Solar Energy Technician Apprenticeship program, which provides graduates with national credentialing in solar power construction and installation. The Construction Trades Program is a community workforce development program that trains workers to fill the demand for construction jobs in South Florida.

Made possible by a grant from the Florida Department of Education’s Pathway to Career Opportunities initiative, the FIU Solar Energy Technician Apprenticeship program is the result of a series of industry partnerships with companies like Goldin Solar, PayOli Solar, and Solar Champs Florida.

The program focuses on providing technical and hands-on instruction for apprentices seeking careers in the high-demand field of solar panel installation.

“We are thrilled to be the first to launch this unique apprenticeship, which will serve to formally train members of our community in a growing and profitable trade that also promises to promote a sustainable environment for future generations,” said Jose Faria, endowed chair of the Moss Department of Construction Management.

The Solar Energy Technician Apprenticeship program is a two-year program that prepares apprentices to become successful in the competitive industry of solar construction. All apprentices will obtain nationally recognized certifications in trades that include National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) in Solar Photovoltaic Installation, Electrical, Roofing and Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) 30-Hour Safety in Construction.

“Consumer demand is high for both commercial and residential solar energy,” said Juan David Payares, CEO and founder of PayOli Solar. “The use of solar energy is on the rise, which is why we also want to take part in building a well-trained workforce that will deliver us to the future and help us all elevate the meaning of energy.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of solar photovoltaic installers, also known as PV installers, is growing in demand with a projected growth of 27 percent expected in the next 10 years – much faster than the average for all construction related occupations. With a median national wage of $22.92 per hour, these highly trained installers assemble, set up and maintain rooftop and other systems that convert sunlight into energy.

“FIU’s Moss Department of Construction Management is a leading construction management program, so it is natural that our expertise will be leveraged to support members of the south Florida community secure the skills necessary for a great profession,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “FIU is proud to both offer exceptional engineering talent to supply Florida’s demand, and programs like this vital to workforce development for members of our community. Together we are building a stronger state economy through job creation and sustainable natural environment for generations to come.”

The apprenticeship program kicked off on Aug. 29, 2022. Enrollment is still open, but space is limited. Those interested in signing up for the program may call Cecilia Trainer at 305-299-7248 or email