Staffing and Workforce Services Accelerate Solar Plant Construction

solar panel

Customer Profile

Our customer is one of the largest solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies in the U.S. It supports power utility companies as they move toward alternative clean energy.

Snapshot

An EPC was struggling with the demands of constructing three new solar plants in remote locations. Due to the size of the projects, a shortage of local qualified talent, and the sites’ distance from the company’s offices, the EPC needed help. Aerotek provided a Managed Resources solution to recruit, screen and onboard skilled tradesmen in a short period of time.

Results:

  • Hired 370 construction workers for three locations over five months
  • Interviewed, screened, onboarded and supported contract employees at three remote work sites
  • Helped the client meet project deadlines despite a major weather event

Challenge

The EPC was struggling to build enough solar plants to keep up with the demand for renewable energy. Many solar plants are built in rural areas that offer large, open tracts of land at affordable prices and minimize plant visibility from highly populated areas. Three of the EPC’s new plant locations were far from their offices, and their management team didn’t have the capacity to recruit, screen, onboard, track and support a large workforce — especially in remote locations.

Faced with these challenges, our customer needed to hire 250 skilled tradesmen near two cities in South Carolina, and another 120 in Florida. Their labor needs included heavy equipment operators, mechanical construction laborers, electrical construction laborers and general laborers. To meet strict project deadlines, the company required approximately 10–25 new hires to start at each site every week.

Solution

Aerotek recommended a hybrid staffing/services model — a Managed Resources solution — to help with these challenges. After meeting with the client’s management team to review their requirements, we conducted labor market analyses to recommend appropriate pay rates for each skill set and created a delivery plan for each project and work site.

Our comprehensive solution included:

Workforce Consultation: We engaged with the client’s leadership team to review their needs and provide a comprehensive solution aimed at finding qualified talent. We recommended using our local recruiting resources near each location, aided by our national skilled trades recruiting center and targeted marketing campaigns.

Logistical Services: Aerotek provided a dedicated client engagement manager and a client solutions manager to manage delivery for each project, removing non-core tasks from the client’s managers. To ensure quality delivery in remote locations, the client solutions manager arranged space with local hotels, libraries and retail centers to conduct in-person interviews, extend offers and complete new hire onboarding. Aerotek also provided a dedicated administrative team at the interview sites to immediately conduct the pre-employment onboarding requirements, including:

  • Pre-employment paperwork
  • Drug testing
  • Coordination of monthly random drug testing
  • Payroll
  • Compliance
  • Customer service and issue resolution

Reporting: We regularly reported on the key performance indicators our customer wanted to see, helping build visibility into our operations. This allowed the EPC’s project managers and superintendents to trust our team was handling the contract workforce appropriately so they could focus on their core functions.

Results

Time saved: Over the course of five months, Aerotek hired over 370 skilled construction laborers for three client sites in South Carolina and Florida, in addition to supporting traditional staffing for a solar project that required another 190 skilled trades hires. When another supplier wasn’t able to meet their hiring needs, the EPC turned to us to fill additional positions to meet project deadlines.

Project timelines met — despite unforeseeable challenges: During the project, a major hurricane caused flooding, damages and delays to the project sites in Florida and posed a risk to our contract employees. Aerotek responded immediately, frequently contacting all contract employees to verify their safety, communicate any updates and provide support. Once the project sites reopened, our contract employees returned to work with even better morale. There was minimal turnover, and the customer stayed on project schedule despite the storm.