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Careers in Energy Week Celebrates Industry Opportunities

​Careers in Energy Week—October 15–19—was created by the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and its members to celebrate and raise awareness of energy careers and their importance to communities, states, and the nation. By celebrating Careers in Energy Week, energy companies and State Energy Workforce Consortia help customers and communities understand the vital role of energy companies in the economy and the exciting, rewarding job opportunities they offer.

Each year during Careers in Energy Week, energy companies sponsor a variety of activities, events, contests, and presentations for students, teachers, families, and others to learn about energy careers and to highlight their workforce development initiatives. For example, in 2017:

  • ​The Illinois Energy Workforce Consortium sponsored a contest that encouraged K-12 teachers to integrate CEWD’s educational materials into their curricula. Teachers who submitted photos of their students using Get Into Energy materials and who provided a written description of how the materials were integrated into lessons were eligible to win one of three $250 classroom grants. Since the program began, 50 teachers have participated, reaching approximately 1,500 Illinois students.
  • The Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium (MEWDC) created a contest for high school welding students. Career and technical education students from around the state were tasked with welding metal structures that depict energy in Michigan and incorporate the MEWDC logo. Contest entrants stretched their creativity and expanded their welding skills—which are vital for tomorrow’s energy workforce. Overall winner, 19-year-old Jarrod Hosking, took home the $500 grand prize, together with $1,000 and welding equipment for his school, for his homage to the state’s history of logging and use of biofuels.​
  • The Florida Energy Workforce Consortium sponsored events across the state that brought together students, parents, educators, and energy companies to pique students’ interest and excitement and to educate parents about the many career options available within the energy industry. Nearly 200 parents, students, and transitioning workers networked with exhibitors, including secondary schools, energy industry partners, and workforce agencies.
  • Members of the Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium organized a variety of activities throughout October 2017, including an Energy Day pre-kickoff event at Alliant Energy’s corporate headquarters; informational sessions and interactive workshops to promote careers in energy to high school students; and professional development workshops at the University of Wisconsin for teachers to increase student engagement and literacy skills using classwork that focuses on energy.

Among the ways that energy companies are celebrating Careers in Energy Week 2018 are:

  • engaging in CEWD’s “I Got Into Energy” campaign, which helps member companies highlight their employees’ stories about why they joined the industry and what they enjoy about their jobs;
  • hosting open houses tailored to veterans, women, and high school students;
  • sponsoring energy career contests for students and energy classroom activities for teachers;
  • organizing hands-on activities at local schools with company engineers, lineworkers, and others; and
  • distributing classroom materials focused on energy to schools.

Learn more​.

Electric Power Industry Careers
Electric Power Industry Careers
What You Need to Know

​By delivering safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy, electric companies create value for every customer and every community in America. Throughout Careers in Energy Week, EEI is showcasing how electric companies are supporting employees today and working to create a strong, skilled, and diverse energy workforce for tomorrow. 

Here are six key facts about the industry’s careers and contributions to America’s workforce:

  1. ​The electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs in communities throughout the country—that’s 1 in every 20 American jobs. 
  2. Through the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and partnerships with educational institutions, public workforce systems, and organized labor, the industry is supporting employees today and building tomorrow’s energy workforce. CEWD members are driving new skills training, advancing STEM education, and creating resources tailored to veterans, women, youth, and adults.
  3. In 2015, median annual wages for electric power industry jobs were $73,000—double the national median. 
  4. Electric companies provide more than just good pay and good benefits. On average, employees work in the industry for more than 15 years, in careers that support their families and anchor them in their communities. And, the industry’s jobs are stable, which is especially vital for regions of the country where the economy may not be strong. 
  5. Military veterans are a vital part of the industry’s workforce. In 2017, veterans made up 11 percent of the industry’s lineworkers, technicians, plant and field operators, and engineers (and 22.5 percent of its nuclear operations workforce).
  6. The electric power industry generates many of the best jobs in America—in traditional and in emerging areas. The industry offers diverse careers, ranging from some of the industry’s most visible jobs, like electricians and lineworkers, to system operators, engineers, computer programmers, architects, lawyers, accountants, environmental researchers, cybersecurity specialists, call center employees, and customer-service representatives. 

EEI’s Brian Wolff
EEI’s Brian Wolff
Supporting Our Growing Veteran Workforce

​EEI Executive Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs Brian Wolff writes in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives: “Attracting the best employees and helping them find the most effective ways to develop their skills is a challenge for any industry. It’s particularly demanding for one, like ours, that every other industry depends on.

“Increasingly, our industry has found the perfect solution in hiring veterans. 

“Veterans come to our industry with a working knowledge of the challenges and opportunities energy companies face. The U.S. military is one of the world’s largest energy customers. Soldiers, sailors, Air Force personnel, and Marines are trained to handle electric equipment, maintain it, and plan for supply needs on scales large and small.”

Read more.

In the News
In the News
Veterans in Energy Forum Showcases Service and Support

​Military veterans are a critical part of the electric power industry’s workforce, and electric companies are working together to recruit former members of the armed services and to support them throughout their careers. EEI is a proud sponsor of Veterans in Energy (VIE), a national employee resource group that provides opportunities for outreach, networking, and mentoring to support the needs of the industry’s growing veteran population.

At VIE’s 2018 Forum in Arlington, VA, veterans working in the energy industry gathered to share ideas on how companies can best retain and support the veterans who make up a key part of their teams and to hear from energy industry leaders. The event began with remarks by EEI President Tom Kuhn, himself a U.S. Navy veteran: “The electric power industry has had success hiring veterans because they have a sense of mission and teamwork,” he said. “There is a great focus on cybersecurity in the electric power industry today, and there is no one better to help us defend our nation than our veterans.” 

Kuhn moderated a panel of energy company CEOs who discussed how veterans’ focus on safety, teamwork, and service make them a natural fit for the industry. Other panels featured conversations on how companies are giving veterans opportunities to connect, network, and mentor others.

Among the resources the industry provides is Troops to Energy Jobs​, which helps veterans transfer their military training to a new job in energy and identify additional education and credentials needed, and supports them in their job search. Since its creation under the leadership of former EEI Chairman and current Dominion Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Tom Farrell in 2011, Troops to Energy Jobs has worked to streamline the hiring process for veterans. More than 52 energy companies across the country have implemented best practices and have seen the benefits of the program in creating pathways for military veterans to find training and careers in the electric power, nuclear, and natural gas industries. 

Learn more about VIE.

Photo (L to R): Tom Kuhn, president, EEI; Curtis Wynn, president and CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative; Kimberly Greene, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Company Gas; Charles Matthews, president and CEO, Peoples Gas; Anne Pramaggiore, senior executive vice president and CEO, Exelon Utilities; Timothy Horan, president and COO, Rhode Island Jurisdiction, National Grid; Ralph LaRossa, president and COO, PSEG Power.

What We’re Reading
What We’re Reading
Embracing Diversity During Careers in Energy Week

​“Companies apply the innovative solutions and programs developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), including Careers in Energy Week, to demonstrate to the next generation of energy workers that we value their perspectives and experiences as well as their talent and hard work,” writes Beth Reese, CEWD chair and executive vice president and chief financial officer, Southern Company Gas, in Electric Perspectives.

“In recent years, State Energy Workforce Consortia have used the week to highlight the benefits an energy career offers by preparing educational materials, hosting contests for teachers to discuss energy careers with students, and sponsoring career and internship fairs at schools. CEWD member companies like Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, and National Grid have hosted students for tours of energy facilities. Member company efforts last throughout the year.”

Read more​.

Industry in Action
Industry in Action
Electric Companies Create Pathways Into Energy Careers

​The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a non-profit consortium of electric, natural gas, and nuclear companies and their associations, is focused on building a skilled workforce pipeline to meet future industry needs. CEWD has formulated five steps for energy companies to support applicants’ pathways into energy careers: 

  • ​provide visibility to help students and job seekers find energy companies, understand the jobs available, and learn about education options;
  • communicate the requirements and credentials needed to pursue careers in energy;
  • partner with educators and other employers;
  • reinforce companies’ internal strategies, initiatives, policies, and funding, and aligning company personnel, systems, policies, and practices to support applicants’ needs; and
  • measure and provide feedback on whether companies are providing data on the quality of new employees to educators and others in the workforce pipeline.

Now, CEWD has amplified its efforts with an assessment tool that measures progress in these areas. Here are examples of how member companies are using this tool to evaluate how they are building the energy workforce of tomorrow:

  • To drive coordination and internal reinforcement of the company’s workforce goals, Duke Energy has created an enterprise-wide workforce development strategy that is increasing awareness of energy careers, forging critical partnerships, developing clear pathways into energy jobs for students, and ensuring that the company has a voice in public policies that encourage energy careers.
  • Georgia Power is expanding its data collection on qualifications and providing feedback on hiring to educators. By discussing the quality and diversity of candidates completing educational programs, the company and its partners ensure that their workforce development missions are aligned.
  • NextEra Energy is collaborating with local colleges and universities on wind energy programs to produce applicants with the appropriate requirements and credentials for the regions in which they live. NextEra and its educational partners work together on developing curriculum, and the company provides subject matter experts to serve on advisory boards and to assist students with capstone projects.
  • ​Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is raising awareness of energy career pathways through career fairs, conferences, and targeted outreach to diverse organizations. Through the PG&E Foundation, the company partners with nonprofit programs to reach youth in grades K-12, and the company’s Better Together New Energy Academy raises awareness of energy career opportunities for high school students. Approximately 3,000 students have participated in the program since it began seven years ago.

Partnerships among companies also are having results for the industry's workforce. The Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium (MEWDC) worked with the state's board of education to design an energy “career cluster” implemented through career and technical education centers and six community colleges across the state in which students pursue traditional academics while learning industry-specific skills. MEWDC members are creating work-based learning opportunities across the state for high school students, such as DTE Energy’s Summer Youth Internship Program. MEWDC served as a model of the Talent Pipeline Management process with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, resulting in Consumers Energy developing a statewide Talent Pipeline Management Academy—the first of its kind in the nation—to help Michigan businesses enhance their talent sources and hire better-skilled workers to meet critical needs. With help from a federal ApprenticeshipUSA grant, the consortium has increased the number of registered apprentices in energy-related jobs by more than 350.

Learn more about CEWD’s efforts to help build the energy workforce of tomorrow.

Driving Diversity
Driving Diversity
Diversity and Inclusion Are a Business Imperative for Electric Companies

​EEI’s member companies have made great strides in diversity and inclusion (D&I) over the last two decades and have received many accolades for their achievements. Under the leadership of former EEI Chairman Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president, and CEO, PNM Resources, EEI's Board of Directors endorsed a D&I Commitment that will help electric companies build the workforce of tomorrow, make D&I more institutionalized and systemic, create long-term plans that achieve specific goals, and apply metrics to measure success. 

“We need to continue what we’ve started,” says Vincent-Collawn in Electric Perspectives. The industry must “monitor our progress and hold ourselves accountable. Today we know that a diverse and inclusive workforce is a business imperative. The workplace must reflect its community.”

The EEI D&I Commitment, endorsed by EEI’s Board of Directors in June, is an industrywide effort to develop the next-generation energy workforce—one with diverse, highly skilled, and qualified employees capable of delivering on the responsibility to meet customers’ evolving energy needs. By supporting the commitment, EEI member companies have pledged to take specific actions to advance this important initiative or to confirm that they already have taken these actions.

Read more.

Going Above and Beyond
Going Above and Beyond
The Men and Women of the Electric Power Industry

Every day, electric company workers play a critical role in their communities by powering America’s homes and businesses. The industry’s men and women also go above and beyond the call of duty to serve customers and communities in ways large and small. 

The industry’s response to Hurricanes Florence and Michael illustrates this dedication. Florence’s strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and inland flooding brought widespread power outages and catastrophic damage to the Carolinas. Impacted electric companies reported that they restored power to more than 1.9 million customers, or approximately 97 percent, one week after Florence made landfall. 

The electric power industry’s response to Hurricane Florence included an army of more than 40,000 workers from investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives—from across the United States and Canada. This workforce included crews and support personnel from affected companies, contractor resources, and additional workers from mutual assistance partners outside the expected impact area.

Just weeks later, Hurricane Michael—​one of the four strongest storms in U.S. history—caused widespread devastation, severe property damage, and immense human suffering across the Southeast. As of 10:00 a.m. EDT on October 17, just one week after Michael made landfall, impacted electric companies reported that they already had restored power to more than 2.6 million—or 95 percent of—customers impacted by this catastrophic storm.

Hurricane Michael developed quickly and moved rapidly across a vast area. Despite this, electric companies mobilized an army of more than 35,000 workers from at least 27 states and Canada to restore power safely and as quickly as possible—never before have so many workers been mobilized so quickly. ​As the focus turns from the short-term power restoration mission, affected electric companies continue to concentrate their efforts on an expedited energy grid rebuild in the most heavily damaged areas.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. We know that being without electricity creates hardships, and we greatly appreciate customers' patience and understanding throughout these historic restorations.

As always, we are profoundly grateful to the heroic men and women who are working around the clock to restore power and to rebuild the energy grid—and to restore hope to the customers and communities they serve. ​

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