Energy industry representatives have created the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium to ensure that a talented and highly skilled workforce is ready to meet the growing demands in one of Oklahoma’s top industries. The consortium is advocating for a 17th Career Cluster for Energy to make Oklahoma students more aware of the energy industry and the career paths available to them in energy.
“The energy industry is a vital component of our state’s economy. Since Oklahoma’s founding, we have led the nation in innovating efficient and affordable energy resources that has resulted in America’s energy independence,” said Gov. Stitt. “This resilience and brilliance in the energy sector makes Oklahoma an attractive state for well-paying jobs in manufacturing, accounting, research and more. With the creation of this consortium, I hope more students will be aware of the wide range of career opportunities available to them within the energy sector. We also call for Career Techs to create a strategic emphasis in educating and training the next generation of our energy workforce as we continue to position Oklahoma as a Top Ten leader in this industry.”
The idea for the consortium started with OG&E, who brought together a group of electric utilities and co-ops to discuss their workforce needs. The consortium expanded to include the broader energy industry, recognizing that all employers in the energy industry are facing similar workforce demands. CareerTech and the State Department of Education are working with the consortium to establish the new Career Cluster.
Oklahoma has adopted the national Career Cluster Framework as an organizing tool for curriculum design and instruction. According to Oklahoma Career Tech, these Career Clusters link what students learn in school with the knowledge and skills they need for success in college and careers. Despite its prominence in Oklahoma, Energy is not a Career Cluster.
The energy industry is one of the largest industries in Oklahoma and is expected to have a severe shortage of skilled workers by 2025. Jobs in the energy industry are also the highest paying in the state, with the average pay over $100,000 annually. The energy industry is critical for Oklahoma’s continual growth and the well-being of all residents of Oklahoma. Without a well-qualified workforce in the energy industry, Oklahoma’s continual growth may not be sustainable. Bringing Energy to the forefront of the education system empowers Oklahoma to develop a talent pipeline and meet its energy workforce demand with qualified candidates. Although the energy industry is very competitive, it is also highly interdependent. Companies in the consortium believe that it is imperative for all companies in the energy industry to be well staffed with qualified workers. In essence they are partnering in the classroom to compete on the field.
The Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium will meet in November to identify and align on key jobs in the industry, lay out curriculum and certification requirements, and map out an implementation plan.