The SOMAH Program partners with dozens of job training organizations and community-based organizations across California to strengthen our outreach to residents through trusted messengers. Through their person-to-person connections, these partners elevate SOMAH’s value to the community and help deliver the benefits of solar to more people.
To showcase this essential on-the-ground work, we’re shining the spotlight on two key partners serving the Central Valley, Self Help Enterprises and Proteus, Inc.
Job Training Organization Spotlight: Proteus, Inc.
Incorporated in 1967, Proteus is dedicated to their mission to empower farm working families and diverse program participants to achieve self-sufficiency through education, workplace training, job placement and other support services. Through a network of 25 offices and mobile employment centers throughout the San Joaquin Valley, Proteus offers 50 different training, education and community service programs for adult, youth and dislocated workers.
Proteus’ unique Solar+ training program goes beyond PV system installation to include basic construction, building weatherization and energy efficiency. Proteus has earned a trusted reputation in the Central Valley through wraparound services that ensure that their students are ready to hit the ground running upon graduation with the practical skills needed to succeed in the solar industry.
So far, more than 30 trainees from Proteus have created profiles in the SOMAH job portal, and three Proteus alumni have participated in SOMAH paid solar training. Additionally, Noah Arzola, Recruitment Specialist at Proteus, has made invaluable contributions as an active member of the Job Training Organization Task Force, or JTOTF. Arzola’s extensive experience in apprenticeships has been integral to the Task Force as they address their 2023 priority to explore the potential for creating a solar apprenticeship program.
Community-Based Organization Spotlight: Self Help Enterprises
Self Help Enterprises (SHE) is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to work together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. SHE serves the predominantly agricultural communities within San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, including many rural and unincorporated communities.
SHE supports Central Valley residents by developing deed-restricted affordable housing, providing home buying assistance, rehabilitating homes, and connecting community members to energy savings and climate resilience programs, including SOMAH.
Since Self Help Enterprises partnered with SOMAH in 2020, they have brought solar to the eligible properties in their own housing portfolio with SOMAH incentives, as well as supported the program’s outreach efforts to affordable housing property owners, job training organizations and potential job trainees, government stakeholders and the community at large.
One of the key strengths SHE brings to SOMAH’s marketing, education and outreach efforts is their dedication to meeting community members where they are in-person and in-language to make resources as accessible as possible. “We go in with the tenant in mind,” explains Armando Ortiz, Self Help Enterprises’ SOMAH Manager. “It’s about opening the door of opportunity; opportunity for families to access monthly cost savings, participate and contribute to energy conservation and strengthen energy equity across the San Joaquin Valley.”