NASEO has released a new report examining ways State Energy Offices can work with partners in academia and the private sector to advance diversity, access, and inclusion in energy careers. Drawing on program and policy examples from State Energy Offices across the country, Energy Sector Workforce Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and the Policy Case for Investment: Recommendations for State Energy Office Action finds that a diverse, qualified, and supported workforce is important in achieving state energy, economic development, and climate goals, and critical to reaching historically underserved markets.
Other key findings and recommendations discussed in Energy Sector Workforce Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and the Policy Case for Investment include:
A more representative energy workforce - from the technicians installing technologies, to the scientists and innovators developing solutions, to the executives devising strategy and investments - can not only help businesses be more competitive and innovative, but also unlock opportunities for governments to better deliver on bold clean energy and climate goals that benefit more than wealthy or early adopters.
State Energy Offices and other policymakers and program implementers can address energy sector workforce disparities in a range of ways, whether by prioritizing underrepresented populations for training and education programs, supporting job placement for workers with disadvantages, or prioritizing public spending to benefit diverse-owned businesses and workers.
State Energy Offices should consider developing partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to inform policymaking and planning, energy technology and research program funding, and workforce development and training programs with inroads into underrepresented communities.
Economic development policy levers such as inclusive procurement practices, community benefits agreements to prioritize local hiring, paid internships, mentorship programs, public spending dashboards, and workforce surveys and assessments offer states an opportunity to lead by example in advancing workforce diversity, access, and inclusion.
Energy Sector Workforce Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and the Policy Case for Investment builds on a year-long partnership with the Clean Energy Initiative of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (CDAC), a non-profit coalition connecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other MSIs, and BW Research Partnership, a research firm specializing in economic and workforce analyses (including the annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.
Many of the data points cited in the report are sourced from a research report released earlier this year by NASEO and BW Research Partnership, Diversity in the U.S. Energy Workforce: Data Findings to Inform State Energy, Climate, and Workforce Development Policies and Programs. The program examples and recommendations discussed in the report are based on a a virtual event co-hosted by NASEO and CDAC in May 2021, convening State Energy Offices and Minority-Serving Institutions for discussions on “Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce: Eliminating Barriers and Creating Opportunities to Enter Energy and STEM Careers through Innovative State-Academic Partnerships,” whose sessions are available for viewing.