IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, Inc., and the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) have announced a partnership designed to provide a common entry point for individuals interested in pursuing energy industry careers. The National Career Readiness Certificate, powered by three of ACT’s WorkKeys® assessments, is a key element at the foundation of a new skills certification system developed by CEWD to address the looming workforce crisis in energy occupations, including electric, natural gas and nuclear energy.
Formed in March 2006, CEWD is a nonprofit consortium of electric, natural gas and nuclear utilities and their associations: Edison Electric Institute, American Gas Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. CEWD was formed to help utilities work together to develop solutions to the coming workforce shortage in the utility industry. CEWD membership represents nearly 75 percent of the nation’s electric and natural gas utility employees. A 2009 survey by CEWD predicts that by 2015, nearly half of the engineers and skilled technicians in the industry will need to be replaced due to potential retirement or attrition. The CEWD skills certification system is designed to respond to that need by establishing a Pathways Model that provides a roadmap for entry into skilled energy industry positions.
ACT will use its decades of research data and expertise to assist CEWD in this endeavor. ACT Workforce Development Division president and chief operating officer Martin Scaglione stated, “We are excited to collaborate with CEWD to help provide a systematic approach to certifying critical foundational skills. This partnership has key similarities with our agreements with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).” Scaglione added, “In each instance, the National Career Readiness Certificate issued by ACT will provide a common standard of measurement for assessing the foundational skills of workers. The Certificate supports a tiered pyramid of stackable industry credentials. Employers in manufacturing, construction and now energy can be confident that individuals who earn a National Career Readiness Certificate will have the core foundational and learning skills to begin successful career paths in that industry.”
CEWD executive director Ann Randazzo stated, “It is imperative that we understand what it will take to get potential candidates properly trained and ready to move into entry-level positions as quickly as possible. ACT’s workforce development solutions, including WorkKeys assessments and the National Career Readiness Certificate, as well as their international reputation as a data-driven assessment firm, makes them an ideal partner for CEWD as we begin the process of building tomorrow’s energy workforce.”
CEWD recently announced receipt of a $1.37 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to prepare low-income adults, ages 16-26, in eight states for energy industry careers. ACT WorkKeys assessments and the National Career Readiness Certificate will be part of the Basic Training phase for CEWD’s “Get into Energy” Career Pathways program (opens new window) funded by this grant.
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