CEWD Updates “Gaps in the Energy Workforce Pipeline” Survey

In 2008, CEWD again conducted an industry wide survey on the electric and natural gas utility workforce.  The survey focused on the potential need for replacements in critical skilled trade positions and engineering.  The results validated the 2007 survey outcomes that found critical gaps needing to be filled in the energy workforce pipeline

 CEWD has published a summary report of the survey results concluding that 40 to 60 percent of utilities’ skilled workers and engineers could retire by 2013. It further concludes that growing demands for electricity would lead to an even greater demand for skilled workers in the years ahead, as companies make major investments in new power plants, energy efficiency initiatives and the infrastructure systems used to deliver electricity and natural gas where it is needed. 

Since the original survey was published, several factors have changed. The economy has weakened considerably delaying retirement among those reaching eligibility and impacting utilities’ capital expenditures. The effect of these changes is reflected in the results of CEWD’s latest survey conducted in 2008.

The updated survey includes an even larger data pool than the 2007 survey, due to responses from a broader representation of energy companies of all sizes and all regions of the United States.

Some key findings include:

  • Increased hiring in all job categories, especially among the 18-22 and 23-27 year-old age ranges. However, these jobs were largely one-to-one replacements for those leaving or retiring, so there were no net gains in the number of employees.
  • Those eligible for retirement left at a lower rate than anticipated. This is most likely due to the weakening economy and losses in retirement savings plans.
  • Should workers now eligible for retirement opt to remain on the job for an additional five years, the industry would still need substantial numbers of new hires. For example, the industry would see a 30 percent loss of experienced lineworkers compared to a 40 percent drop if all lineworkers were to retire when eligible or to leave through natural attrition.

For a full copy of the new survey report, please visit: http://www.cewd.org/resources.asp

CEWD Establishes Goals and Priorities for 2009

Strengthening energy engineering programs, recruiting untapped populations, transitioning military and displaced workers and identifying the impact of Green Jobs are just a few of the priorities CEWD will focus on this year as the organization continues its mission to build the alliances, processes and tools needed to develop tomorrow’s energy workforce.

During a CEWD Executive Council retreat at the end of 2008, council members discussed how to build upon the momentum already generated by CEWD to meet the industry’s most critical needs in the years ahead. The discussions resulted in a document that sets forth 18 specific goals for 2009. They include:

·         Increasing the Get Into Energy website content to include coal-fired generation and appeal to transitioning members of the military and engineers;

·         Designing and publishing outreach materials that support the Get Into Energy branding campaign;

·         Identifying current education programs that provide training, certificates, diplomas or degrees for key jobs;

·         Focusing on transition training options and curriculum for military and displaced workers;

·         Identifying competencies and curriculum for alternative energy and future energy industry jobs;

·         Partnering with the Power and Energy Engineering Collaborative to strengthen energy engineering programs;

·         Conducting a 2009 CEWD Workforce Survey and a 2009 Annual Summit, along with continuing to sponsor regional forums;

·         Continuing to develop toolkits, solutions guides and webinars that support industry needs and best practices.

“Obviously changes in the economy will present some challenges in 2009, but they also provide positive opportunities for the energy industry right now,” said CEWD Executive Director Ann Randazzo. “As one of the few sectors looking to bolster its workforce, we are in a unique position to reach out to displaced workers and transitioning military personnel. We must redouble efforts to market ourselves to these groups as well as ensure that the training is in place to help them step into the jobs we need to fill,” Randazzo said.

“The growth of Green Jobs also presents numerous opportunities for our industry,” Randazzo said. “One of the things we need to focus on is to make sure the new Administration, as well as the next generation of workers, understands how we are addressing the need for cleaner energy and greater energy efficiencies. Energy jobs are green jobs.”

To see a complete list of CEWD’s 2009 goals and priorities, visit http://www.cewd.org/strategies.asp

Best Practice

“Project Venture” Mentors NJ Middle Schoolers While Raising Awareness of Energy Careers

James Mahecha, a 20-year-old criminal justice major, remembers when he learned the importance of looking someone in the eye. It was during the 7th grade when he was a student in an after-school mentoring program at New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG).

“They would actually train us how to act and what to do on job interviews,” said Mahecha, who still remembers the advice his mentors gave him about how to shake hands firmly, dress appropriately and exhibit confidence by looking people directly in the eye.

The advice paid off when he interviewed for his first job at the Woodlake Country Club a few years later – and got it. Mahecha has been employed there for five years while he finishes the degree his mentors emphasized would be so critical to his future. 

“They always made sure that education was a main factor in your life,” he said.

Mahecha is just one of hundreds of students who have participated in Project Venture, a program designed to give middle school students the chance to experience the business world firsthand. Each year, roughly 30 students from Asbury Park and Lakewood middle schools in southern New Jersey spend a several afternoons each month at the gas company’s corporate headquarters in Wall. 

With two mentors per student, the students have the chance to learn about job opportunities and the skills required in the energy industry, as well as a much broader range of career choices, said Carolyn Cannon, Senior Customer Relations Consultant at NJNG and the program’s coordinator. 

“Each year we select a different theme,” she said. “Last year we focused on business etiquette – what people do in the corporate environment. This year it’s about careers – how to interview, what classes you need to take in high school to pursue different careers, things like that.”

Cannon said the program teaches a lot of “job readiness” skills that these students, who come from urban neighborhoods, may be missing. In addition to one-on-one time with the employees who serve as mentors, the students are also exposed to local cultural events and college campuses. 

 “Our Project Venture program not only provides students with skills that will help them be successful in school, at work and in life, but it also helps expose them firsthand to what we do as a company and the opportunities that exist in the energy sector,” said Cannon. “It’s truly a win-win for all involved.”

Once they graduate from high school and enroll in a two- or four-year accredited college, Project Venture participants also become eligible to earn a merit-based $2,000 scholarship from NJNG, Cannon said.

Whether the students ultimately seek a career in the energy industry or in another field, their mentors are proud to have played a role in helping them form and achieve their goals, said Rhonda Figueroa, NJNG corporate secretary. She has been involved with the program for 15 years.

“If they don’t work for the gas company or the energy industry, hopefully they’ll enhance their communities and they’ll give back,” Figueroa said. “This is going to benefit our community at large.”

One former Project Venture student who gives back is Waldo Sainvilus, now Executive Reservations Coordinator at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Philadelphia. Sainvilus went through the program a decade ago and recently returned to Project Venture to speak with students about the importance of forming professional relationships and getting the most out of what their mentors were teaching them.

“I talked to them about taking the program seriously. It’s important to have fun,” he told them, “but take in what your mentor is saying to you. Keep in contact with your mentors. Do the networking. Know that you can keep in contact with them and use them as a support system.”

A former Asbury Park Middle School student, Sainvilus has kept in contact with his mentors, as well as CEO Laurence Downes. He met Downes during the program when his mentor showed him how to write a professional email requesting an interview with the company’s top executive.

At the time, Sainvilus needed help with punctuation, format, and word choice, key elements of making a professional request in writing. He said from that experience he learned the importance of good writing, a skill he now relies upon when communicating with the hotel’s VIP clients and other contacts.

“I pride myself on my writing today,” he said.

Knowing the program has made a difference in a student’s life is what it is all about, said Figueroa. She said she loves hearing news of students’ achievements after they graduate.

“That’s really rewarding. You’ve touched them and you’ve made a difference,” she said. “You did something that gave them that edge. 

For more information on Project Venture, please contact Carolyn Cannon at ccannon@njng.com.

Power Source

Communities Tip for the Month: Post a Best Practice!

CEWD members and their partners have an array of best practices. Take a moment and post your document now! Go to the community where your best practice fits and follow the directions below.

 ·         Click on the “Best Practices” tab.

·         Click “Attachments” inside the orange box. Click “Upload Attachment” and upload what you want to post.

·         In the white area, type of name of your best practice and type of document (presentation, paper, brief, etc.).

·         Highlight the type of document you are posting.

·         Click “Insert Link” then find your document and click “Insert.”

CEWD offers new toolkit on Internships and Co-ops

Looking for a way to build relationships with regional educational institutions, market your company to the next generation of workers and “try out” young, local talent?

 Why not consider offering an internship or co-op program that offers on-the-job experience to high school or college students in your area? While students earn academic credits and begin to build their resumes, your company will gain a short-term infusion of talent and create a pipeline for additional job candidates.

CEWD has put together a toolkit for companies that wish to learn more about internships and co-ops, including what they are (structured, academic-year on-the-job programs for students) and what they are not (a chance to get someone to do the menial tasks nobody else wants to do).

The toolkit includes an overview of both types of programs, an organizational audit, task list, management buy-in PowerPoint presentation, budget template, marketing ideas, work plan template, program agreement sample, sample employment letter to students and internship/co-op evaluation form.

To download a copy of the toolkit, please visit: http://www.cewd.org/toolkits/interntoolkit.asp

Plugged In


CEWD South Regional Meeting

March 2-3

New Orleans, LA

For more information, please visit: http://www.cewd.org/regmtgs/2009South/SavetheDateSouth.pdf