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.
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.
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.
Selected as one of eight states to implement a Gates Foundation-funded Get into Energy Career Pathways Project, the FEWC has and is managing this pilot’s implementation in Florida through the grant and beyond. This program’s goal is to continue 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 course materials the Energy Technician high school curriculum framework approved by the Florida Department of Education have been completed. Work is currently underway to develop course materials for the recently approved Middle School energy curriculum framework.
Beginning in Summer, 2011, the FEWC launched the Florida Energy Teachers Network which brought instructors from middle and 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 Dr. Susan Neumans Van Buren, CHELCO at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850.307.1137.