When Albert Ortega was released from prison four months ago, he was determined to turn his life around. So he went green.
Mr. Ortega sports tattoos of an Aztec warrior on his back, a dragon on his chest and the name of his former gang, the East Side Wilmas, rings his biceps. Drug trafficking kept him locked up for most of the past seven years, he says. But after serving his last term, for 18 months, he heard about a solar-panel installation course.
"I wanted a new way of life," says the tall, brawny 34-year-old. "Solar puts me on the cutting edge."
In the race to train America's "green-collar" work force, a group composed mostly of former Los Angeles gang members on parole is an early participant. Their training is funded by Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles nonprofit that helps people with criminal pasts find employment.
President Barack Obama has made the production of renewable energy one of the pillars of job creation. All ...