U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz convened a roundtable discussion at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on Aug. 16 to focus on new approaches and opportunities for training Washingtonians for the high-paying jobs that will close the growing skills gap in the energy industry. The roundtable brought together representatives from the laboratory, higher education, organized labor, regional economic development, as well as students and local elected officials.
The discussion centered on how governments, businesses, education and training organizations can work together to provide the job skills that energy companies will increasingly require in the coming decades. The DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review found that the energy sector will need to fill 1.5 million new jobs over the next 15 years. A new report from Sen. Cantwell’s staff estimated that 234,000 of those jobs will be on to the West Coast.
Senator Cantwell’s staff also unveiled a report documenting the challenges Washington state faces in preparing its workforce for tomorrow’s energy industry. The report highlights the need for increased public and private investment in workforce training and apprenticeship programs. Coordinating resources towards energy job training will not only provide an economic boost to Washington state, but also keep American workers competitive on the global stage.