Whitfield Works to Bridge the Gap for Jobs

“Energy and energy-related jobs are critical to American economic growth in the years ahead” – Rep. Ed Whitfield

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), today began its work on a comprehensive energy bill with a review of a discussion draft of Title II: 21st Century Workforce. This section of the bill seeks to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs and bridge the gap between underrepresented communities and the energy and manufacturing workforce. This nonpartisan legislation will ensure energy and manufacturing-related opportunities are available to all Americans.

“Energy and energy-related employment has been one of the few economic bright spots in recent years – everything from those employed discovering and producing energy, to those constructing and operating the infrastructure to transport it, to the new factories that are powered by it,” said Whitfield. “But America’s energy transformation has taken the job market by surprise. Many in need of work do not have the skills required to fill these high-paying opportunities, and the Department of Energy’s job programs do not fully reflect current realities.”

Click HERE to watch the video of Whitfield’s opening remarks

Rick Jarvis, Vice President of Morrow-Meadows Corporation, testifying on behalf of National Electrical Contractors Association, applauded the committee’s efforts to support the development of a highly skilled energy workforce. “Increasing the availability of skilled workers is crucial to the growth of the energy sector, and the apprenticeship infrastructure provided by the construction trades is a sure-fire bet for success.”

Monica Martinez, President of Hispanics in Energy, expressed the need to take action to improve the opportunities for underrepresented communities in the workforce. “We must continue to spread the message of the opportunity available in the energy field. Doing so, will enable many Americans to live the American dream and find the economic opportunity that comes with it. As a nation of energy users, we must ensure that we promote and carry the message of the job opportunities in energy to everyone.”

Tracy L. Brundage, Vice President of Workforce Development at Pennsylvania College of Technology, testified about ShaleNet, what she described as “successful partnership of training providers, economic development, the public workforce system, employers, and trade associations who responded to the call from the energy industry for a trained workforce.” The committee’s legislation seeks to foster more partnerships like ShaleNet to secure jobs for America’s energy workforce.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Vice President & Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer and Chief Energy Officer at the University of Houston, said that the committee’s focus on workforce development is “well placed,” and explained that there is a massive misalignment of workforce needs and student education within the energy industry. He noted that education and training partnerships with community colleges and industry, like those programs included in the legislation, can help produce the high-skilled workers needed to fill today’s workforce demands.

Charles Wilson, Managing Partner of CW Consulting Group, gave powerful testimony about his hopelessness as a disadvantaged youth and explained how the committee’s 21st Century Energy Workforce legislation can give at risk-young men and women hope for a better life and the tools they need for success. “This collaboration will not only meet the needs of today, but will help bring recognition to the United States as the world leader in energy and manufacturing and job creation. I fully support the establishment and passing of this innovative Title II: 21st Century Workforce bill.”

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