M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC (MJB&A) provided technical and consulting support to the Task Force on America's Future Energy Jobs. In a report released today, the Task Force, which was convened by the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), a project of the Bipartisan Policy Center, found that the U.S. is facing a critical shortage of trained professionals to maintain the existing electric power system and to design, build, and operate future electric power systems.
The report examines the ability of the current worker training and education system to provide a workforce with the ability to maintain a highly reliable, economically affordable electric power system while modernizing the nation's electric generating infrastructure to support an advanced, low-carbon energy portfolio. The bipartisan group, composed of experts from labor, the electric power industry and the training and educational sectors, found opportunity amidst the looming workforce challenges to create new high-skill, high paying jobs in the energy sector at a time when growing numbers of Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
The Task Force report identified several key issues:
Task Force Participant Paul Allen, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Environmental Officer, Constellation Energy, noted that "the challenge is looming, with 30 to 40 percent of the 400,000-strong electric power workforce eligible for retirement in the next five years, the industry needs to prepare to meet a long-term, sustained need for training. Which kinds of jobs are created, and how many, will be determined by how soon and how seriously we make the transition to a low-carbon energy economy."
Based on these findings, the Task Force developed several policy recommendations:
Van Ton-Quinlivan, Director - Workforce Development, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), explained that "PG&E and other utilities see great value in partnering with local community colleges, workforce investment boards, and unions to enlarge the local talent pool able to compete for our jobs. PG&E's PowerPathwayTM program is one example of how such private-public synergies resulted in veterans and candidates from underserved communities being able to effectively transition to the electric power sector."
The report can be downloaded here.