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NCCTI Building Trades Graduate Finds Success as Solar Panel Technician

Terrell Williams recently completed the Building Trades Specialist program at New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) and is now a solar panel technician for Solar Energy Systems. Photo courtesy of Terrell Williams.

New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) helped launch Terrell Williams into a career as a solar panel technician, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After graduating from high school, Williams entered the workforce because he didn’t want to take on the high debt associated with attending college. After several years, however, he decided to pursue additional education to increase his earning potential.

“I wanted to explore a trade school option to see if I could find an affordable one,” Williams said.

After doing online research, Williams found NCCTI which was conveniently located for him since he lives in Newark.

“When I looked on the website and saw the programs and saw it costs an amount of money that would be more reasonable and could be paid off, I decided to go there,” he said.

That decision has paid off. Williams completed the Building Trades Specialist program in the spring, where he learned the basics of carpentry, electrical and plumbing, and then opted to take a short solar panel installation course through Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC). He started working as a solar panel technician for Solar Energy Systems at the beginning of June where he installs solar panels on commercial buildings full-time.

NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton said Williams is one of the school’s many successes.

“Terrell is a smart young man with an eagerness to learn and a commitment to putting in the work. Those attributes and characteristics allowed him to get the opportunity with Solar Energy Systems,” Brutton said. “It was beyond a pleasure having Terrell as a part of our Building Trades program.”

While Williams was skeptical at first that he would be able to learn the basics in the three areas of carpentry, electrical and plumbing, he felt prepared upon completing the program at NCCTI and recommends the school to others.

“In my head, I thought it was going to be impossible to teach all these things in this short period of time, but they ended up teaching us all the basics,” Williams said.

Williams had the opportunity to participate in the solar panel course because New Community is part of the Newark Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) network, which includes NCC, ICC and the Urban League of Essex County. The Greater Newark LISC office provides funding support and technical assistance to all the FOCs in the network. Organizations in the network share their program information with each other and invite participation.

“We really appreciate the partnership with ICC and our FOC agencies for the work they do and for creating this wonderful opportunity for Terrell,” Brutton said.

At just 24 years old, Williams is well on his way to a successful career in a growing industry.

NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.