Governor honors Iowa Careers in Energy
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation today recognizing Oct. 16-20 as Iowa Careers in Energy Week.
The week, which coincides with the National Careers in Energy Week, builds awareness about the careers available in today’s rapidly changing and growing energy field. With influences in science, engineering, finance, business, policy, and even design, energy jobs offer many high-growth career opportunities for both experienced workers and those just starting their careers.
“It is important for students to not only be aware of Iowa’s growing industries, but also know what skills and education are required,” said Jeremy Varner, the Department of Education’s division administrator for community colleges and workforce preparation.
Helping students attain the education and skills required for the jobs of today and tomorrow is integral to the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which calls for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. Currently, 58 percent of Iowans have training or education beyond high school.
“Students need to see themselves working in high-growth fields, such as energy,” Varner said.
According to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. Growth in this industry accounts for roughly 14 percent of all new jobs created in the country.
To give students, parents, and educators a better understanding of what jobs in energy look like, the Iowa Sector Partnership Leadership Council worked with the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Energy Workforce Consortium (IEWC), the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, and Iowa Central Community College to develop a new tool that can be used when talking with students. Matching education and skills with different high-demand jobs in energy, the Opportunities in Energy: Iowa tool shows how career opportunities exist for every type of person, no matter interest or skill.
Jolene Rogers, executive director of community and business relations at Iowa Lakes Community Colleges and convener of the energy sector partnership in Northwest Iowa, identified the lack of people in the labor pipeline as one of the major challenges facing Iowa’s energy employers. Career pathway maps, like the Opportunities in Energy: Iowa tool, are important to show different types of jobs at varying levels of training and education, from noncredit training over the course of several days, to two- and four-year degrees and beyond.
“Employers in our area are expanding, but they compete for talent,” Rogers said. “There are great careers along a continuum of training, certification, and education levels. These are well-rounded jobs with advancement opportunities and the skills are transferable to many areas.”