The New Face of Manufacturing: U.S. Energy Growth Creating New Manufacturing Opportunities

The U.S. energy boom is being credited for reviving manufacturing across a variety of sectors, especially in the energy and petrochemical markets. This growth is crucial to keeping the U.S. economy and jobs on an upward trajectory, but as baby boomers migrate out of the workforce by the thousands, finding skilled workers to fill these jobs is a growing challenge.

U.S. Energy Boom Spawning New Workforce Recruitment and Training Programs in Energy & Petrochemical Manufacturing

 

The U.S. energy boom is being credited for reviving manufacturing across a variety of sectors, especially in the energy and petrochemical markets. This growth is crucial to keeping the U.S. economy and jobs on an upward trajectory, but as baby boomers migrate out of the workforce by the thousands, finding skilled workers to fill these jobs is a growing challenge.

 

To ensure a secure energy future for the U.S., it is vital to increase the number of people entering the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and provide them with the right skills and training to easily transition into these jobs. The good news: business, industry and education leaders are rising to this challenge with new programs aimed at doing just that.

 

For example, last summer, Houston-based ExxonMobil announced a $500,000 investment to fund a local workforce training program that will enable area community colleges to prepare thousands of residents for jobs in the growing local chemical manufacturing industry. ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, said the initiative will build on the success of the nationally recognized Lee College ExxonMobil Process Technology Program, and will benefit 50,000 students and educators over the next five years.

 

“The jobs that will become available in our area over the next decade represent a life-changing opportunity for many in our community,” said Texas state senator Rodney Ellis. “With the average annual salary in the Texas chemical industry at $86,000, this landmark partnership among our schools, business community and ExxonMobil can help make the dream of economic independence come true for a lot of families.”

 

For the younger set, Duke Energy—the largest electric power holding company in the U.S.—sponsors the Energy Academy at Purdue University in Indiana, aimed at inspiring high school students and their teachers for future leadership in energy sciences and engineering. This week-long summer course covers STEM-related energy topics including power generation, transportation, power transmission, energy efficiency and new research frontiers. Students tour energy plants, work on energy-related research projects, debate energy policy, and conduct hands-on demonstrations.

 

In March, Purdue announced it will be expanding the Energy Academy to 84 participants this year.

 

 

 

May 28, 2014

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.

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