Full Title: Energy-Sector Workforce Development in West Virginia
Author(s): Gabriella C. Gonzalez, Sean Robson, Andrea Phillips, Gerald Hunter, David S. Ortiz
Publisher(s): Rand Corporation
Publication Date: January 1, 2015
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In the past, West Virginia’s energy sector was primarily based on mining and combusting coal for industry or electricity. In recent years, the production and industrial application of natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale resources have increased demand for workers in the energy sector. In 2013, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) asked RAND to work closely with the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia (CTCS) to develop a strategy for energy-sector employers and education and training institutions to collaborate to ensure that the local talent pool is prepared to enter the workforce with the competencies to fill energy-sector jobs now and in the future. To develop that strategy we examined data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) and interviewed energy-sector employers in West Virginia to determine the key knowledge areas, skills, and abilities required of energy-sector employees across the country and within West Virginia. We then analyzed data from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, interviews with representatives of academic and training providers within CTCS, apprenticeship programs, a regional Workforce Investment Board (WIB), and CTCS students enrolled in energy-related programs to determine whether education and training is aligned with the sector’s needs and what may impede such alignment. We conducted a national review of promising practices from training provider–employer partnerships across the United States. Based on this analysis, we developed ten recommended action items CTCS and other regional stakeholders can implement to support a well-aligned and coherent energy-sector workforce-development pipeline.