Governor Gregoire has proclaimed Oct. 17 – 22 as Careers in Energy Week to promote the need to build a smart-energy workforce. Washington joins 11 other states in supporting the national drive, coordinated by the Center for Energy Workforce Development. Washington events are coordinated by the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy, a Centralia College partnership.

Nearly half of today’s energy workforce will be retiring in the next decade. As technology within the industry quickly increases, so does the need for a techno-savvy workforce to support high-skill, high-wage jobs. The right education and training will provide men and women a rewarding, well-paying career that benefits millions of people every day.

Four events throughout Washington will engage high school students and counselors in activities to support Careers in Energy Week. The events, coordinated by the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy, a partnership with Centralia College, will include:

Explore Careers in Energy at RETC/Satsop, Oct. 13. One hundred high school students will participate in hands-on activities at the Regional Education and Training Center (RETC), Satsop campus in Elma. Students and teachers will learn how to understand an energy audit and recognize if energy efficiency changes were made; experience first-hand how power plant operators handle an emergency and abnormal operating conditions without the risk of live power; tour the never-fueled nuclear power plant; and control the operations of a computerized system which is typically used to open and close valves, switches and collect data. Contact: Kathryn Fredrick, 360-482-1755 or kathryn.fredrick@retcs.org.

Expand Your Horizons at Gonzaga University, Oct. 15. More than 100 Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, grades six to 12, will participate in science, engineering and energy related hands-on activities that will show them that math and science are fun. The girls will check out careers in energy and other great fields. Contact: Sarah Betts, 800-827-9478, ext. 225, or sbetts@gewni.org.

K-12 Apprenticeship Awareness Workshops, Oct. 17 and 18. High school counselors will take facility tours and experience hands-on activities to learn more about pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship career choices available throughout the state. Up to 30 counselors are expected at Ione to take a tour of Seattle City Light Boundary Plant and in Spokane to tour Avista Utility’s Jack Stewart Pre-Apprentice Line School. Workshops will be led by Washington State Labor Council. Contact: Kairie Pierce, 360-943-0608 or kpierce@wslc.org.

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