EPCE’s Semi-Annual Coalition Meeting To Highlight Workforce Diversity and Inclusion, Energy Policy, and Stackable Credentials
INDIANAPOLIS – The Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) will hold its semi-annual meeting on April 14-15. The two-day virtual event will center on the latest challenges, opportunities, and best practices in sustaining a viable talent pipeline in the rapidly evolving energy industry. The coalition meeting is free to EPCE members and guest employers in the energy industry, but registration is required. EPCE attendees represent energy and utility companies, including personnel who provide education, training, human resources, or workforce development services for those employed or seeking employment in the industry. Registration can be completed at epceonline.org.
Session subjects will include workforce inclusion and diversity; energy policy updates, particularly within the context of the new White House administration; and effective strategies for aligning industry workforce needs to adult learner career pathways.
Keynote speaker Kristy Hartman, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, will provide a bipartisan overview of state and federal measures, including analysis of Biden administration energy initiatives and the workforce challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
Vicki Vasques and Angela Heck, also keynote speakers, will review the energy industry’s progress and continued efforts in enhancing and promoting workforce inclusion and diversity. Longtime American Indian advocate Vicki Vasques is the former assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education. She also served as the director of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Angela Heck is an EPCE member and director of training and development at Day & Zimmermann.
“Now more than ever, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, civil unrest, and the uncertainty of the economy, it is important to provide a place of belonging in the workplace, building a culture of trust and equity where all of us feel safe, seen, heard, and, most importantly, respected!” said Vasques.
“The energy sector is rapidly changing – from the growth in natural gas and clean energy to the expansion of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar and energy storage,” said Hartman. “Additionally, workforce development has emerged as a critical issue as we face large-scale retirements and an urgent need to train workers on new energy technologies. State policymakers will continue to play a critical role in shaping energy policies that support the evolving energy sector.”
Education and training sessions will include a special presentation on how stackable credentials, which unbundle the educational experience and help create more tangible connections between coursework and career objectives, are helping meet labor market needs in energy and other rapidly changing industries. EPCE’s sister organization, the National Alliance for Communications Technology Education and Learning (NACTEL), will share insight about how its expanding use of badges and other stackable credentials are transforming adult learner pathways by better aligning degrees and certificates with employability. The telecom and energy industries face similar workforce issues, including upskilling and reskilling, with digitalization increasing the ways that the sectors’ education, training, and employment needs intersect.
“Stackable credentials aligned to the workforce needs in both energy and the communication industry support skill development needed for our future workforce,” said Christine Carpenter, executive director of NACTEL.
Since 2000, EPCE has offered timely and relevant online energy programs that meet the emerging needs of the energy industry. The EPCE coalition represents energy employers across the country working together to create, sponsor and offer easily accessible online education and training pathways for the energy workforce. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) provides management services and learning resources for EPCE and serves as the organization’s fiscal agent.
Recognizing that adult learners are the backbone of the U.S. economy, CAEL helps forge a clear, viable connection between education and career success, providing solutions that promote sustainable and equitable economic growth. CAEL opens doors to opportunity in collaboration with workforce and economic developers; postsecondary educators; employers and industry groups; and foundations and other mission-aligned organizations. By engaging with these stakeholders, we foster a culture of innovative, lifelong learning that helps individuals and their communities thrive. Established in 1974, CAEL, a Strada Education Network affiliate, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization. Visit cael.org to learn more.