JobTrain participated in Careers in Energy Week by launching a job fair yeasterday, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., featuring representatives from the Get Into Energy Career Pathways program and the College of San Mateo's Electrical Power Systems program.

JobTrain announced its partnership with Get Into Energy Career Pathways, a national pilot program to train low-income, young adults for skilled energy jobs, as part of a larger, eight-state initiative by the D.C.-based Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). The initiative has been made possible by a $1.37 million grant to CEWD from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Using the Get Into Energy Career Pathways Model, the State Energy Workforce in California, Ohio, the Carolinas, Washington, Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Minnesota – will work with 5,000 low-income, young adults (age 16-26) to assess their interest and skill levels for potential employment in skilled technician positions. Students will have an opportunity to earn "stackable credentials" through the project that focus on the foundational skills necessary to be successful in a variety of positions in energy. Following a pathways system of education, which might include boot camps, apprenticeships, certificate programs or an associate degree, roughly 500 will be placed into electric and natural gas utility jobs. Others will be referred to jobs in construction and manufacturing.

"These eight pilot programs, made possible by the Gates Foundation grant, will provide the next step toward creating industry-recognized credentials that will allow energy consortia in other states to develop the necessary structure for building a stronger and better-prepared energy workforce," said CEWD President Mary Miller.

The grant will also result in the creation of tools and processes that can be used by utilities, education institutions and the workforce system in not only the pilot states but in any state that wishes to implement the Career Pathways Model. For example, it will result in a career coaching training program and handbook, curriculum for a National Career Readiness Certificate, a framework and common curriculum for a plant operators and technicians accelerated degree program, and a project metrics and web-based tool for input and tracking, among other tools.

Careers in Energy Week was created to increase the public's awareness about energy careers through a concerted nationwide effort.