Mentorship can be a powerful tool to encourage and shape the development of young professionals working in clean energy. For women and people of color especially, mentor relationships can be pivotal in accelerating their career growth and overcoming workplace obstacles.
Acting as an advisor, confidant, industry matter expert, and inspirational advisor, mentors may help mentees identify career goals, build self confidence, and make better informed decisions using their mentor’s shared experiences and industry insight. According to The Solar Foundation’s U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study 2019, 90% of employee respondents rated both formal and informal mentorship as important to their career advancement, even though only 37% of solar firms offer mentorship opportunities.
Every person owes at least part of their success to others who have offered advice and support along the way. Becoming a Pathways Mentor is an opportunity to recognize this and pay it forward in the community.
To volunteer as a Pathways Mentor, you should have the following qualities:
- Work in the clean energy industry, preferably in Texas
- A schedule that allows you to make a firm year commitment
- Ability to participate in a 2-hour new mentor training workshop
- Prompt communicator and empathetic listener
- Belief that a young person can be an interesting friend
- Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment
- Willingness to comply with program policies and procedures
Solar Austin is committed to providing a positive mentoring experience. Through the Pathways to Clean Energy Careers program, eligible volunteers will receive key training to learn how to develop a mutually beneficial mentorship and will be invited to attend a complementary diversity, equity, and inclusion workshop. Although the internship program is divided between spring and summer semesters, the mentorship program is a year long commitment, meaning a Pathways Mentor may be matched with one student in the spring and one in the summer. Solar Austin matches mentors with student interns based on shared expectations and interests. Mentors and mentees will be responsible for establishing their own meeting schedule, whether that be a 30 minute weekly phone call or a bi-monthly coffee gathering.