PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Frankford High School in Northeast Philadelphia is making history, as the first high school in the country to have a clean energy training lab. It's all to prepare students for careers in solar and clean energy.
Solar energy technology is on the cutting edge, and Frankford's "Bright Solar Futures" program gives students a thorough look at the fast growing careers available in the industry.
"They have over 1,000 hours in training," said Jordan Crawley, Frankford's solar energy technology teacher.
"They get hands on training on solar installs ... understanding energy conservation and some of the dollars and cents behind the industry, to get them set up to be successful in an array of potential career pathways."
"I'm trying to be a roof installer when I grow up," said 11th grader Angel Camacho. "I already know how to do it, how to install it and everything, where the anchor has to go on top of the rooftop, but that's my main objective in life, to be a roof installer."
He said it isn't the best job for anyone afraid of heights. "Sometimes you might be afraid of heights, but if you actually are trying to do a roof install, just don’t look down," he advised.
"We never went on a rooftop but we did actually come to class and actually pretend that we was on a rooftop," Camacho continued.
"So if we got up on the rooftop, we would put our harnesses on. We would put the lanyard on our bag so when it snaps, we have something to save us from falling down on the ground. As soon as the lanyard snaps, it grabs us and it makes sure that we don't severely hurt our backs, or we don't actually fall down and get hurt badly."
Among the program's sponsors is PECO.
"It is one of the most exciting times in the energy industry," said president and CEO Mike Innocenzo. "We are seeing more change now than we ever have, so there's opportunities that exist in our industry more now than ever so before."
Plans are in the works to create a similar program at Thomas Edison High School in North Philadelphia.