Advanced Technological Education Network for Utilities and Energy Technical Education
As many skilled workers approach retirement and fewer qualified candidates are available to replace them, the energy industry is suffering from shortages of workers with key engineering and technical skills. This shortage is estimated to affect more than 70 percent of energy employers across the nation. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, a two-year technical college, offers one of the widest varieties of utility-related associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates in the Midwest. However, filling the workforce pipeline will require the coordinated efforts of many institutions, organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders. This project aims to develop such a cross-sector network to develop collaborations and share resources to address current and anticipated utility and energy industry workforce and training needs.
Faculty in the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College utility and energy program, in consultation with industry, will identify and cultivate a core leadership group of national and regional stakeholders from industry, academia, and workforce development to create a formal utilities and energy coordination network. The network will create a shared vision to guide its evolution and establish the structure and norms for building member relationships. This work will lay the groundwork to execute strategies for utility technician training in gas, electrical power, and utilities engineering sectors to address nationwide workforce shortages. The project will look at methods to increase collaboration between industry and educational stakeholders. It will also examine how best practices and information can be shared across regions and the nation to broaden impact and create sustained progress towards achieving network goals. This research will add to the current body of knowledge about network development and the relevance of networks in addressing complex problems, like worker shortages across industries with high-demand occupations.