Colleges Project Is 1 of 11 Recipients Chosen Nationally
The College of Southern Maryland has been awarded a $1-million High Growth Job Training Initiative grant through the U.S. Department of Labors Employment and Training Administration (ETA). CSM is one of only 11 projects selected from 171 applicants nationwide.
The funding will support CSMs development of a Center for Energy and Trades Training (CETT), a project that will provide potential workers with skills-based job training to enter careers in the energy industry.
This project represents a revolution in energy workforce development, as the partners are companies which rarely collaborate on training and education practices. However, through this project, the companies will be equal partners as they share curriculum, technical expertise and financial resources, and entrust CSM with the responsibility of developing a common entry-level curriculum, said CSM President Dr. Bradley Gottfried. He added that the college, school systems and other partners will implement strategies to enhance the visibility and appeal of energy careers and to recruit new workers.
“These grants awarded under the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative will help equip workers with skills and certifications that are in demand in the energy sector,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao in the press release announcing the award.
Recognizing the emerging crisis for the energy industry, CSM with its industry, education and economic development partners have created a comprehensive solution to address demands for workers with operations, maintenance, and/or construction skills in three sectors: energy generation (oil, gas, coal nuclear, solar, wind); energy transmission/distribution; and energy facility/utility construction.
CSM and its partners are building upon standard industry practices to provide training strategies that will result in providing a level of competence or mastery in a given job, but most importantly, pathways for long-term and satisfying careers.
CSMs project addresses challenges facing Maryland energy companies, including an aging infrastructure, a critical shortage of craft workers, an inadequate workforce potential in the pipeline and impending retirements by the baby boomers. The construction industry is facing similar challenges, with a 20 percent increase in demand projected through 2014. Based upon energy company timetables, Southern Maryland will need 4,300 skilled trades workers for energy facility/utility construction through 2013, plus more than 300 permanent facility/utility workers.
According to the Department of Labor, ETA's High Growth Job Training Initiative is a government effort to prepare workers to take advantage of new job opportunities in high growth, high demand sectors of the American economy – sectors that are projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or that are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new skills sets for workers. Other projects that won funding are located in California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.