From a retail sales role to diving deep into the world of solar energy, the trajectory of Kyle Applewhaite's career took a dramatic turn, all thanks to OIC Philadelphia's Smart Energy Program. While working at Best Buy and feeling the pressure of needing a stable career after the birth of his son, he discovered the potential of solar panels for energy saving. Intrigued by the concept, he applied for OIC Philadelphia's class and embraced the opportunity. "I just knew that you put solar panels on your house and that's how you can save on your electricity bill... And then from there, I kind of ran with it. And that's why I'm here right now," he reflects.
Through the Solar Program, Kyle not only gained technical knowledge but found an environment that encouraged relationship-building, leadership, and self-accountability. Balancing work and family life, especially while living outside Philadelphia, presented challenges, but the support of instructors and peers helped him navigate them.
The results have been rewarding. Kyle and his classmates who desired careers in solar all found jobs in this promising field. More than just a job, he sees it as a path where he can grow, where his hard work is recognized, and where leadership is nurtured. "With this, being in this field, it's like, I can work as hard as I want to. I learn the concepts and then people see that and they want to push you forward... they want to make leaders.” His story exemplifies how OIC Philadelphia's Smart Energy Program not only equips individuals with skills for a booming industry but fosters personal growth, accountability, and leadership, changing lives in profound ways.