A Monthly Update from the Center for Energy Workforce Development
Issue 13, June 2008

In this issue:   Best Practice Spotlight: Arizona Public Service Ensuring the Applicant Pipeline
                      The Power Source: ETA Helps Solve Workforce Development Puzzle
                      Plugged In: Upcoming Events

 Workforce Issues

Career Cluster Map Helps Raise Energy Job Awareness

In an effort to build better awareness of energy jobs among high school students, CEWD has developed a Career Cluster Map that it is now distributing widely among industry members, schools and others with an interest in energy careers.

Career Clusters – the groupings of job specialties used for high school technical education curriculum design and instruction – help link what students learn in school with the knowledge and skills they need for post-secondary education and the workplace.

Understanding how energy jobs fit into those clusters can help companies work with schools to match their employment needs with the courses students are taking. It can also help students match their career interests with the classes they need to ensure that they become qualified applicants for these jobs. That’s why CEWD has developed the “Energy Career Cluster Map,” which clearly outlines the paths students should follow to pursue successful careers in energy.

The map focuses on how energy jobs fit into three specific Career Clusters, groupings which have been determined by the States’ Career Cluster Initiative (SCCI): Architecture and Construction; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); and Manufacturing. Each of these clusters includes numerous potential career pathways in the energy industry.

For example, students taking classes in the STEM Cluster could pursue careers in electrical, civil, nuclear or mechanical engineering. Those in the Manufacturing Cluster might pursue careers as gas plant operators, boilermakers or quality control technicians.

The map includes jobs already included in SCCI’s clusters, as well as some that CEWD is working to have added to the program. The map is meant to serve as one of several tools energy companies can use in helping to build awareness of the opportunities available in this field.

For more information on Career Clusters, along with a toolkit CEWD developed to help members partner with schools, visit the “Members Only” section of the CEWD Web site: www.cewd.org.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting Focuses on Energy Challenges

Last month, Constellation Energy and the Community College of Baltimore County (CBCC) hosted a regional meeting for CEWD members in the Mid-Atlantic area. Representatives from the education sector, the energy industry and the energy workforce gathered for two days to share best practices, tips for securing grants and thoughts about how to attract and train a new generation of energy workers.

CBCC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis encouraged energy companies to reach out to their local community colleges to help them understand their training needs. She also announced that CBCC had received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that focuses on providing appropriate training to students interested in careers in energy.

“What interests you interests us,” emphasized Dr. Kurtinitis, in welcoming everyone to the meeting. “Your needs become our priority. I’m happy to say that CBCC is here to be your partner.”

Participants also heard about another type of partnership – the state consortiums being developed by energy companies and community colleges in Maryland and Virginia.

The Maryland State Consortium reaches out to local workforce investment boards, as well as representatives from construction, manufacturing and other services that support the electric industry. It has a broad focus that includes alternative energy, as well as generation, transmission and distribution; career and technical education; and community and faith-based organizations.

The Virginia Workforce Consortium organized itself using templates provided by CEWD (see the “Members Only” section of www.cewd.org) and receives excellent support from the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, said Lisa Stiles, Strategic Staffing & Knowledge Management, Nuclear Business Unit, Dominion Power. It also works closely with the state’s community colleges to share curricula and resources and to access untapped labor pools.

Other programs discussed at the meeting included Piedmont Virginia Community College’s lineman program, a partnership among the members of the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Associations of Electric Cooperatives; career fairs hosted by Skills USA; school programs developed by the National Energy Foundation and Jobs for America’s Graduates; and new developments in Maryland’s Career and Technical Education program.

Updates were also provided on challenges to rebuilding nuclear power engineering programs and attracting a new generation of workers that has different priorities than generations past.

“Students today are spectacularly different,” said Ken DeFontes, President and CEO of Baltimore Gas & Electric. “They are socially active and want to make a difference. We have to think of different ways to interact with, attract and challenge this new workforce.”

Darren Winham gave participants information on how to obtain grants from the U.S. Department of Labor that can help them develop solutions to workforce development challenges. He described the various types of grants available, including a new Green Jobs Group, and opportunities to reach out to construction workers for whom English is a second language.

To view some of the resources referenced during the Mid-Atlantic meeting, please see:





For more information on CEWD’s regional meetings, please visit www.cewd.org.

 Best Practice Spotlight

Arizona Public Service Ensuring the Applicant Pipeline

If finding qualified job applicants is a challenge, why not grow your own from scratch?

This type of creative problem-solving has paid off for Arizona Public Service (APS), where a bit of warehouse space-turned classroom, a couple of retirees-turned instructors, and the support of a local vocational institute and community college have transformed numerous high school students into highly skilled and successful entry-level electric power plant workers.

An impressive 95 percent of students taking part in this program – a joint partnership between APS, Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) and Northland Pioneer College (NPC) – have gone on to accept jobs in the energy industry or to pursue a higher education, said Dan Nicholas, Fossil Joint Apprenticeship Program Coordinator at APS.

“They come out of this class as semi-skilled workers,” he said. “They learn about safety issues, personal protective equipment, hand tools, packing and gaskets, piping, pumps, valves, alignments and bearings. They are really getting a leg up for when they come in to test for one of our full-time positions.”

Over the past five years, the utilities in the area have hired 60 graduating NAVIT/NPC students as full-time workers in operations and maintenance. Many of them are now earning more than $50,000 per year. “It has given them an incredible start,” said Nicholas.

The NAVIT program, which offers Arizona students the opportunity to earn both high school and college credits, takes place for three hours every school day, five days a week, in a makeshift classroom in the back of a warehouse on the grounds of APS Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City. The company plans to construct a new classroom building onsite later this year. The same program takes place at the Salt River Project’s (SRP) Coronado Generating Station in St. Johns, while the SRP Navajo Generating Station in Page is working on the development of a similar program. A fourth program is planned for a plant in Four Corners.

During class time, students engage in computer-based training and also use a curriculum developed by the National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER). In addition, they have the option of “job shadowing” operations and maintenance workers, who some have chosen to do on their own time to learn as much about the company as possible.

One student has logged 180 hours of job shadowing on his own time, Nicholas said. “Do you think that person’s serious about wanting a job in the industry?” he asked. “I do.”

At the completion of the two-year program, students earn national certifications for their hands-on training, Nicholas said. Some will apply for entry-level positions at APS and other power companies, while others may decide to continue with a secondary education. Recently, APS launched an internship program, which will draw from the students in the NAVIT/NPC program.

“We’re going to put them out in the real work environment and let them actually engage in the work that we do,” said Nicholas, explaining that this program was supported by the local union (IBEW Local 387). “The internship will give them the hands-on experience that all employers look for.”

The NAVIT/NPC program is “driven by industry, for industry,” with an advisory board composed of representatives from APS, TEP, SRP and other local industries, Nicholas said. The board reviews curriculum and makes sure the classes and hands-on experiences continue to meet today’s energy workforce needs.

The NAVIT program is paid for by the state, not the students, who apply from surrounding school districts for up to 20 slots each year. Nicholas said he takes great pride in working with these students and seeing them successfully compete for jobs in the company when they graduate.

“When these young adults get hired on, I kind of feel like a step-dad,” he said. “Essentially what this is doing is growing our future.”

That’s a step APS and others in the industry have long needed to take, Nicholas added, given the aging workforce and the looming skilled worker shortage.

“If we’re not putting something in the pipeline,” he said, “we can’t expect something to come out the other end.”

For more information about this program, contact Dan Nicholas at Daniel.Nicholas@aps.com or 928-288-1417, or visit www.navit.k12.az.us.

 The Power Source

ETA Helps Solve Workforce Development Puzzle

At the Workforce Innovations Conference, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is set to release its latest resource to help energy and other high growth industries solve the workforce development puzzle with its Workforce Solutions Catalogue. A multi-year effort, the catalogue features over 300 industry-based solutions developed by the President’s High Growth and Community-Based Job Training Grants. These solutions include curriculum, competency models, distance learning tools, career awareness and outreach materials, research findings, case studies, career lattices, Web sites and more. ETA is now disseminating these solutions to the public workforce system, education system, business and industry, and other partners in hopes of further stimulating regional economic development strategies and partnerships.

A synopsis of each solution is included in the catalogue. You can also search and download all of the solutions and the Workforce Solutions Catalogue for free on Workforce3One (www.workforce3One.org), ETA’s dynamic Web space designed for sharing innovative resources, tools and learning events with workforce and education professionals. 

Additional information about High Growth grantees is available through the High Growth Job Training Initiative Investment Center at www.doleta.gov/BRG/HGJTIGrantees/. Information about Community-Based grantees is available through the Community-Based Job Training Investment Center at www.doleta.gov/BRG/CBJTGrants/. If you experience any difficulty accessing ETA’s workforce solutions, or if you have questions about a specific solution featured in the catalogue, contact the Business Relations Group at businessrelations@dol.gov or 202-693-3949.

Work Readiness – A Solutions Guide

Having trouble finding job candidates who are not only interested in energy, but also qualified to work in the field? A lack of job readiness skills often keeps otherwise eager candidates out of the entry-level positions energy companies are seeking to fill.

The good news is that many states offer Career Readiness certificates to candidates who want to assure prospective employers that they have attained the necessary basic skills to begin a career. There are several types of certificates and levels of certification that may be awarded. There is also a National Work Readiness Credential, developed by the National Institute for Literacy.

To help members understand what these certificates signify, and how they can be helpful in hiring decisions, CEWD developed a Work Readiness Solutions Guide available in the “Members Only” section of its Web site: www.cewd.org/modelPrograms.asp.

The guide offers a list of states currently offering certificates, a description of the levels of certification, and information on how to start a Career Readiness Certificate program in your area if you don’t already have one.

Work Readiness credentials generally signify that the applicant has passed tests showing that they have the skills to: speak so that others can understand; listen actively; solve problems and make decisions; cooperate with others; resolve conflicts and negotiate; observe critically; take responsibility for learning; read with understanding; and use math to solve problems.

 Plugged In

Upcoming Events

Workforce Innovations (link to http://www.workforceinnovations.org/)
The Workforce Innovations 2008 conference, co-presented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the American Society for Training & Development, will be held July 15-17, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference brings together leaders from workforce development, business, economic development, education, community-based organizations and philanthropy.

Are you located in the Mid-West Region?
Join CEWD and its host AEP for the Midwest Regional Meeting August 25-26, in Columbus, Ohio.
Check the CEWD Web site soon for more details.

Don’t Miss CEWD’s 2008 National Summit (link to http://www.cewd.org/flsummit.asp) October 6-8 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The theme for this year’s Summit is Building Energy Workforce Communities.

 Get Into Energy Information

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