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(November 18, 2013)
Energy Sector: WSU Study Examines Energy Workforce Gaps in Northwest

Electric utility employment in the Pacific Northwest exceeds 40,000 highly skilled workers and generates nearly $2.8 billion in annual payrolls, according to a new labor market study. On average, the region’s utility wages are 82 percent higher than the average for jobs across all industries.

The study (“Workforce Challenges of Electric Power Employers in the Northwest”) was conducted by the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and published by the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy/A Centralia College Partnership (PNCECE).

The study includes data gathered from 16 electric power employers who employ nearly 28,000 workers across the five-state Pacific Northwest region (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Utah). The study was funded through a $5 million (leveraged to $12 million) U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Workforce Training grant.

The study reveals how energy employment and workforce needs have changed since 2008, before the onset of the U.S. recession. A lack of qualified workers and looming retirement forecasts pose formidable challenges to employers and the regional economy, according to the report.

The study includes data gathered from 16 electric power employers who employ nearly 28,000 workers across the five-state Pacific Northwest region (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Utah). PNCECE is releasing the results this week in the study, “Workforce Challenges of Electric Power Employers in the Pacific Northwest,” which was funded through a $5 million (leveraged to $12 million) U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Workforce Training grant.

A copy of the report may be found at http://cleanenergyexcellence.org/resources