Three initiatives bringing skills and talent to emerging industries
Across sectors, employers are shorthanded. Nearly every industry needs more people with more advanced skills. It’s not only a demographics shift, although that’s part of it; work itself is changing dramatically.
Energy, transportation, education, technology, and security are not new industries, but today’s jobs are much different than they were 20 years ago. Now, regional governments are investing in the “offshore wind workforce,” and electric vehicle infrastructure is generating new middle-class jobs. And career and technical education (CTE) teachers are expanding their purview to include training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
A few examples of initiatives that are upskilling and reskilling American workers for today’s high-demand job titles:
Building offshore wind energy infrastructure
In Massachusetts, a cross-sector collaborative effort — government, labor unions, postsecondary educational institutions, and private-sector employers — is building a skilled offshore wind workforce. Colleges are adding courses and degree programs, and safety training classes are fully booked with electricians and ironworkers hoping to adapt their skills to support an emerging industry.
Servicing electric vehicle charging stations
ChargerHelp employs a team of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) technicians. The company sees itself “at the intersection of workforce development, adult learning, and clean technology.” To provide EVSE technicians to customers across the country, ChargerHelp collaborates with local workforce centers, utility companies, and other organizations to train and hire people from local communities. The company recently offered its technician training class in Georgia, through a partnership with Georgia Technical College, Southern Company, and Georgia Power Company.
Teaching cybersecurity in high schools
Over the past year, American employers have posted more than 700,000 cybersecurity job openings. Addressing the cyber talent gap will require identifying and developing pathways from secondary education to postsecondary education and careers — but many high schools don’t have enough educators with the necessary expertise to provide rigorous cybersecurity education. CTE CyberNet, a national cybersecurity teacher professional development initiative, launched in 2020 with three pilot sites: Local academies in Chicago, San Antonio, and South Dakota. This year, an expansion accelerator is bringing the teacher training to two additional academies in Miami and New Mexico.
Photo by Laura Penwell