As part of a generation where technology advances create new job categories on a seemingly daily basis, students on Byron Nelson’s solar car team are aware of the advantages they’re gaining in a competitive job market. According to statistics from the Solar Foundation, the amount of solar industry jobs has increased by 20 percent per year over the last four years. The foundation’s data indicates the amount of solar jobs has tripled since 2010, and one in every 50 new jobs added in the United States was created by the solar industry. Additionally, Texas ranked among the top five states for the most solar industry jobs in 2016. Byron Nelson solar car team members cited the skills the program teaches them as important learning that could one day provide careers in a related industry. Multiple students said designing the car and working on tricky electrical engineering are examples of experiences no other program could give them. For senior team member Nicholas Mounce, who is still deciding his collegiate and career goals, taking part in the solar car team served as a way to learn complex topics that could help in the future. “A couple of my friends were on the team before and they 10 recommended it, saying it could give you skills for a good profession,” he said. “It’s really enlightening, because coming in, you don’t know what to expect. Once you start getting into it, you learn it’s a lot of fun and you see how this could become a career. I’m still not quite sure what I want to do, but knowing all this – from the welding to the electrical part – is helpful.” Joseph Archer, a junior team member, summed up his experience by stressing the benefits making a solar car can provide down the road, saying, “Solar power is a renewable energy source, and it’s something that’s only going to become more important in time. I’m very interested in engineering, and I knew I could learn a lot from this.” n To follow the Byron Nelson Solar Car team on Twitter, search for the account @bnhs_solarcar. The account will become more active as they begin building their vehicle for the annual Solar Car Challenge, which takes place in the summer.