House Appropriations Energy Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Future of the Energy Workforce

Mar 15, 2019

The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development recently held a hearing on Energy Workforce Development: Opportunities and Challenges. The purpose of the hearing was to have a discussion around future energy jobs and the importance of ensuring there will be a competent energy workforce prepared to meet the nation’s increasing energy demands. In opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur stated “As the energy sector evolved to include more sustainable forms of energy, as our nuclear security needs also grow, and as more Americans retire, it is paramount that today’s energy workforce transitions to meet new opportunities, and that we build the ‘workforce of tomorrow’.”

Former ASME Federal Fellow and current Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, Noël Bakhtanian was a witness. In her testimony Bakhtanian reinforced the need for a robust STEM education curriculum, highlighting that the American workforce is decreasing as our energy needs shift towards more renewable sources, and grow overall. Rather than let this disparity continue to grow, Bakhtanian noted that “We have an opportunity to catalyze all areas of the energy innovation system by recognizing that science and technology can mutually inspire.” Increased efforts in advancing energy education by supporting science education funding, particularly at the graduate level, as well as workforce development have the potential for major benefit. “Your [congressional] support of technical certifications, skilled trades, and apprenticeships for energy industries will strengthen our country’s technology leadership and resilience as we adapt with the changing energy playing field.”

Another witness, Sloane Evans with the Center for Energy Workforce Development also noted that along with a shift towards more renewable energy, the industry is also seeing a greater shift towards stronger technology integration. The energy workforce of today, as well as the future, must also adapt to be more technologically savvy to keep up. Evans explained “The industry must continue to develop a workforce with skills for traditional energy production and delivery as well as developing capabilities for the future.”

To view an archived webcast of the full hearing, click here: https://youtu.be/7Z0gd0Z9QzA