Despite blowing snow, ice and rain, and some delayed flights into Albany, hundreds of participants from across the U.S. and Canada packed plenary and breakout sessions at the fourth Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference, March 8-10 in Saratoga Springs. More than 450 innovative educators training today’s green energy workforce gathered in Saratoga Springs, NY, and revealed their remarkable work on instructional strategies, curricula development, credentialing, and best practices for building and maintaining a quality, credentialed safety-conscious workforce in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields.
Just since the last clean energy workforce education conference, held in November 2009 in Albany, NY, the number of training opportunities has proliferated. The 2011 conference focused on what instructional strategies and curricula have worked best, and what still needs to be done to build a qualified workforce.
“Once again, this conference has given us an enormous wealth of guidance and focus on training a competent ‘green’ workforce,” said Jane Weissman, Executive Director of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC).
More than 80 presenters addressed a wide range of critical and emerging issues, including:
- industry competencies and how they need to be built to insure a flexible workforce with transportable skills;
- balancing classroom and field experiences;
- introducing clean energy technologies and careers to high school students;
- integrating new clean energy skills into existing trade programs; and
- results from recent labor market studies.
Plenary speakers included some of today’s most distinguished leaders in renewable energy education and training, including Dr. Sarah White, from the Center on Wisconsin Strategies (COWS), Dr. Debra Rowe, Oakland Community College, Ann Randazzo from the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), and Todd Stafford from the National Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (NJATC).
“We will continue to publish articles and interviews about what we learned, and the critical and timely discussions that this national gathering of experts facilitated,” said Weissman.
All of the conference’s presentations are posted on IREC’s website. The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) was the conference sponsor. IREC served as the primary organizer of this conference.