Partnership Highlight: Michael Chanin, CEO of Cherry Street Energy, Shares about Shine On Workforce Development Program
By: Christie Jones, Office of Sustainability Initiatives Intern, June 2020
Emory University recently partnered with Cherry Street Energy to bring renewable solar energy to its Druid Hills campus. Under the Solar Energy Procurement Agreement (SEPA), Cherry Street has started to install over 15,000 solar panels on 16 Emory buildings and parking structures, starting with the 1599 Clifton Road building that they will own and manage. This partnership will provide ten percent of Emory’s energy needs while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Cherry Street Energy is not your average power company. Dedicated to renewable energy and job creation, CEO Michael Chanin spearheads its Shine On program, offering safety and occupational training and rewarding job opportunities to displaced workers. “Anyone can ‘Shine On’,” Michael explained, “it’s just a question of how she or he fits into a role integrating renewable power into the built environment.”
In talking with Michael, he went on to describe the Shine On initiative as a coalition based in collective action. “Jobs and education are our priority,” Chanin shared, “and if we stand together, we have the force to do something larger than ourselves.” The directive is community-minded; with the global renewable energy industry projected to provide 16 trillion investment dollars by 2030, the Shine On program helps residents build lasting and meaningful careers in a growing field.
Chanin stressed the value of economic opportunity— “repurposing worker capability” to educate and empower—as the cornerstone of the Shine On program. Cherry Street Energy recruits displaced workers—from those edged out of their trade fields to young, inexperienced community members. After a six-week training course in renewable energy construction, Cherry Street connects newly trained workers with its energy partners for job placement. Shine On bridges the gap between community and technology, carving out a successful path for new workers in a booming renewable industry.
Cherry Street is at the forefront of the renewable energy market in Georgia, and their Shine On program gives local communities access to a new wave of technology and sustainable energy consumption. Emory’s partnership with Cherry Street Energy is an investment in the future, an investment to build flourishing and resilient communities.