About the Clean Energy Center of Excellence
The Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE) is a nationally recognized model that provides strategic coordination for the energy industry’s skilled workforce in the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Utah.
The renewable energy industry — globally, nationally, and in Washington state — is in the midst of tremendous change. Significant growth in the renewable energy sector has occurred in recent years and forecasts show that this trend will continue. Washington state is on the leading edge of new developments in renewable energy, and the state is well positioned to accelerate the shift toward a clean energy economy to support state environmental and economic goals. The future growth in renewable energy depends on a well-qualified workforce to design, build, operate, and maintain renewable energy plants and equipment.
PNCECE is a statewide resource that represents the interests of the energy industry, and our labor partners, within the Washington State Community and Technical Colleges system. We exist to narrow the gap between employers’ demands for a highly skilled workforce and the colleges’ ability to supply work-ready graduates. We convene industry and labor to help drive workforce development initiatives — and coordinate community college resources after industry and labor set the direction.
Centralia College is designated as our home campus, and we work statewide to achieve our purpose.
We are led by an Advisory Board comprised of energy industry and labor leaders along with our partners in education, including regional consumer-owned and investor-owned utilities, a federal power-marketing administration (the Bonneville Power Administration), organized labor, community and technical colleges and universities, and workforce and economic development councils.
Our Advisory Board is a permanent standing board to provide advice and insight to the Center of Excellence from the perspective of industry, education, labor, and the community. The board helps the Center achieve its mission by ensuring that programs and projects advance the needs of the energy sector within the region.
Our Advisory Board thoughtfully considered the issues and challenges facing our Center, our students, Washington’s Community and Technical College system, and the energy industry in the Pacific Northwest.
We engaged with focus groups across Washington State for a candid assessment of our organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. We heard consistently that it is the strength of our partnership with industry, labor and education that has been the pillar of our success.
Vision & Mission
Our vision is to be a national model in developing partnerships among business, industry, labor and education — for the purpose of enhancing economic and workforce development initiatives that meet the needs of the clean energy industry. Our mission is to support the transition to a cleaner energy future through the development of a highly skilled workforce that meets the needs of industry.
History & Success
In 2004-05, the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges selected ten Washington State Centers of Excellence to serve as economic development drivers for the state’s leading industries. Learn more about the Centers of Excellence.
Since our founding in 2004, our impact has grown from 5 to 20 community college energy-sector programs offered throughout the Washington State Community and Technical Colleges system. These programs support the industry’s diverse workforce needs as well as technological advances in “niche areas” of energy such as smart grid, solar, energy efficiency, hydro and wind energy technology, while continuing to support the core curriculum of power generation, transmission and distribution programs. Graduating students have been placed into high skills, high wage energy industry jobs across the Pacific Northwest region — they are an important component of the state’s strategy of sustaining an innovative and vibrant economy.
Grants, Projects & Summits
The Center of Excellence for Clean Energy and Centralia College have successfully secured and managed large state and federal grants. The Center has a proven progression of leadership in managing and supporting Grant-funded Projects of over $30 million during an eight-year period.
Each year from 2005-2017, the Center presented the Energy Best Practices Summit, one of the premier energy and construction workforce conferences in the Northwest for energy and construction educators, industry, organized labor, and economic and workforce development representatives.