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Attracting Energy Sector Companies to Your Community

Sustainable energy is a hot topic; it's also an industry quickly creating a wide range of jobs that could come to your community. Besides the obvious things that companies invest in, like research and development of alternative energy sources, there are many subsectors of the sustainable energy industry.

These secondary industries, like energy efficiency, provide opportunities not only for job creation but also for new education and career paths.

Pennsylvania: Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Social & Economic Growth

Pennsylvania’s Weatherization Assistance Program is one example of creating new jobs while also pushing forward energy efficiency, workforce development, and helping “low-income families cut energy costs, improve health, and maintain a safe home environment.”

The weatherization program has created an entirely new job sector in the state, the weatherization sector. In the 44 years the program has been operating, they’ve weatherized “more than 542,000 homes and resolved over 144,300 heating crisis emergencies.” (PDCED)

Washington State Leading the Charge in Energy Efficiency Jobs

The energy sector is the 3rd largest industry in the US, and it's only growing and expanding. We need energy to live, and the industry is innovating to keep up with demand. The sector employs over 6.5 million Americans. 

Washington state has over 150,000 energy-related jobs, and more than ⅓ of those jobs are associated with energy efficiency. But employers are reporting that they’re struggling to find people to fill the open jobs. The energy efficiency sector is creating more new jobs than most other sectors right now. 

A boom in new technology development means that more workers are needed. Added to that are the many baby boomers retiring from the energy industry. It's a double hit for a critical industry that needs talent.

How Can You Prepare the Workforce for Energy Sector Companies? 

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An investment attraction strategy with a holistic approach, using several different initiatives and incentives, will be the most successful at bringing energy sector companies to your community. To make your community more attractive to energy efficiency companies, you can:

  • Create tax incentives for energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses.
  • Consider initiatives like Pennsylvania’s weatherization program, which helps increase energy efficiency in low-income households, creates jobs in the community, and improves your whole community’s health, safety, and energy efficiency. 
  • Collect and review labor market intelligence (LMI) to identify opportunities for aligning workforce development strategies with economic priorities.
  • Create opportunities for training and certification for energy efficiency programs by connecting with training and educational institutions.

Taking a fully integrated approach to attracting energy sector companies, and building a community focus on energy efficiency, is about more than just workforce development. A collaboration between economic development, social development, and workforce development improves the whole community. An integrated approach creates opportunities for new careers, while also improving social health and safety and attracting investment from new industries. 

The bonus with energy efficiency upgrades and retrogrades is that the environment around you doesn’t limit the need for these services. Even if your city isn’t a great location for a solar or wind farm, it's still a place where everyone can benefit from reduced water use, lower heating costs, and safer homes. There is always a market for energy sector growth, even if it's not directly about the research and development of alternative energy sources.

Use LMI to Attract Energy Sector Companies to Your Community

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References: 

https://dced.pa.gov/paproudblog/opportunities-are-heating-up-for-pas-weatherization-workforce/ 

https://www.energy.senate.gov/2018/5/new-report-shows-dramatic-growth-in-energy-efficiency-jobs-with-washington-state-leading-the-charge 

https://www.energy.senate.gov/services/files/4269D9FB-3713-4371-AD66-CE9117A54E5D 

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