Energy-Sector Workforce Development in West Virginia
Author(s): Gonzalez, Gabriella C.; Robson, Sean; Phillips, Andrea; Hunter, Gerald Paul; and Ortiz, David S.
Organizational Author(s): Rand Corporation
Funding source not identified
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Examines the results of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia (CTCS) efforts to develop a strategy in the energy sector that supports student’s transition from high-school to postsecondary education.
“In 2013, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) asked the RAND Corporation to work closely with the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia (CTCS) to develop a strategy for energy sector employers and public education and training institutions (such as K–12 public education, state-sponsored career and technical education centers, public education consortia that support students’ transition from high school to postsecondary education, and the state’s two-year community college system) to collaborate to ensure that the local talent pool is prepared to enter the workforce with the knowledge, skills, and behavioral competencies to fill energy-sector jobs across the state now and in the future.
This report communicates the results of that study. It sets the stage for more in-depth work supporting the development of publicly funded programs to train workers in the energy sector in the West Virginia region but also in other regions enjoying growth in demand for workers from emerging energy industries. The results of this study should be of interest to developers of training programs designed to meet the needs of the energy sector and to firms in the energy sector, which need to plan for their workforce over the long term” (p. iii).
“This study was intended to be a first, exploratory phase that will inform subsequent phases of work to support energy-sector workforce development in West Virginia. The study’s focal area of inquiry is education and training opportunities available through public institutions in West Virginia. [The authors]…briefly describe the education and training provided through private, for-profit institutions and apprenticeship programs developed between industry and unions but do not examine those programs in depth” (p. xiv).
“Results from this study should be useful to regional stakeholders and prove valuable as a template for other regions confronted with similar workforce-development challenges. They should also assist NETL and CTCS to understand the scope and scale of the workforce needs of the energy sector, gaps in the regional workforce, existing workforce-development partnerships and initiatives that can be leveraged, lessons learned from other regions’ initiatives aimed at developing a capable and adaptable workforce for the energy sector, and suggested paths forward” (p. xv).(Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“Suggested Measures Regional Stakeholders Can Implement in the Short Term:
• Develop sustained permanent partnerships among industry leaders, training providers, and other education providers” (p.109).
• “Develop CTCS programs that suit the needs of the energy-sector workplace, yet provide a broad range of skills to students” (p.111).
• “Provide services to address potential barriers to talent’s entrance into, and completion of, education and training programs” (p.112).
• “Consider modifying developmental education delivery and content.
• Leverage workforce-development training programs already in place” (p.113).
“Longer-Term Measures That Require Comprehensive Partnerships Among the State’s Education and Business Stakeholders:
• Improve awareness of energy-sector employment opportunities and available education and training programs” (p.114).
• “Expand and improve opportunities for on-the-job training and career counseling” (p.115).
• “Make the recruitment and retention of quality instructors a priority for education and training program administrators.
• Improve readiness of talent entering postsecondary education and training programs” (p.116).
• “Institutionalize cross-communication and collaboration across state institutions to support implementation of action items” (p.117).