Florida Energy Workforce Consortium
The Florida Energy Workforce Consortium (FEWC), formed in 2006, is developing solutions to meet the current and future work force needs of the state’s energy industry. Organized by the Governor’s workforce investment board, Workforce Florida, Inc., the FEWC includes representatives from state economic development, workforce development, education, organized labor as well as major electric utilities and associations. The consortium’s primary goals are to develop accurate projections of future energy industry work force needs detailed by occupation and to prioritize those needs for focused educational and recruiting efforts. To ensure that solutions are developed in a sustainable and well-coordinated fashion, the FEWC is addressing several key objectives:
- Career Awareness: Improving the image of the industry and introducing to Floridians the high-paying jobs and career paths within it. [Audrey Brown, OUC, Chair]
- Funding & Resources: Marshaling all available resources, focusing them on the most pressing challenges ahead. [Sharon Patterson, JEA, Chair]
- Policy & Education: Impacting education public policy to support implementation of energy industry-relevant education and training at the secondary and post-secondary levels with an eye toward opportunities to transfer knowledge from the existing workforce to entry-level workers. [Susan Van Buren, CHELCO, Chair]
- State and National Outreach: Raising awareness of the impending workforce shortages and its impact on the energy sector and the state’s economic development potential, thus avoiding potential adverse impacts to our state’s citizenry and businesses. [Jennifer Grove, Gulf Power, Chair]
Top Occupations of Concern
- Line Installers and Repairers
- Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters
- Maintenance and Repair Workers
- Engineering Technicians
- Instrumentation & Control Technicians
- Power Plant Operators
Selected as one of eight states to implement a Gates Foundation-funded Get into Energy Career Pathways Project, the FEWC will manage this pilot’s implementation in Florida through 2013 at the grant’s end and beyond. This program’s goal is to provide low-income youth opportunities to move through a career coaching and education process – or energy pathway – to prepare them for entry-level work in the energy industry. Also on the horizon is the development of the course materials for the new Energy Technician curriculum framework recently approved by the Florida Department of Education. Beginning in Summer, 2011, the FEWC launched the Florida Energy Teachers Network which brought instructors from high school and post-secondary energy-related programs together in a network where they can receive support from each other and directly from the energy industry in Florida. For more information on Florida Energy Teachers Network, please contact Jennifer Grove, Gulf Power at JLGROVE@southernco.com or 850.444.6821.
For more information on the FEWC, please contact FEWC Co-Chairs: Betsy Levingston, Lakeland Electric, at Betsy.Levingston@lakelandelectric.com or 863.834.6439; Sharon Patterson, JEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904.665.8833.