ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A growing demand for clean energy employees led the Minnesota Department of Corrections earlier this year to offer a solar installation course to two classes of inmates prior to their release dates.

Held last spring and summer, 30 men took the 48-hour solar installer training course from instructors working with the Wisconsin-based Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The nonprofit used the same course it offers members of the general public.

While it’s still too soon to tell if the program will succeed in helping inmates find work, its existence is a reflection of Minnesota’s changing energy economy.

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