CPCC study identifies skills most needed in Charlotte-area energy sector

last modified Sep 17, 2013 01:58 PM

Workers in specific occupations with specific skills are in high demand by Charlotte-area energy sector employers, according to a study conducted by The Center for Energy Training at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC).

The Center for Energy Training announced the results of its seven-month workforce development study today at a meeting of CPCC’s Executive Energy Leadership Group, one of the college’s industry advisory councils. The study examined energy sector workforce needs for persons with associate degrees or post-high school certifications. The Center used a number of data sources, including 17 meetings/interviews with energy sector employers, U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics, labor analytics software and work done by CPCC subject matter experts.

The study found a high demand by area energy companies for workers in the following occupations:

  • Maintenance and repair;
  • Computer user support;
  • Construction management;
  • First line supervisors of manufacturing mechanics, installers and repair personnel, as well as first line supervisors of construction, trades and extraction workers;
  • HVAC technicians and installers;
  • Team assemblers;
  • Welders, cutters and welder fitters;
  • Pipefitters and steamfitters; and
  • Non-destructive testing specialists.

The Center for Energy Training at CPCC launched the study to serve the region’s energy sector by:

  • Identifying the specific skills/occupations that are in in demand;
  • Determining the technical and baseline skills most in demand;
  • Identifying the energy-related jobs community college graduates/completers are qualified to fill;
  • Determining the energy sector occupations projected to grow in the coming years.

“Using information gained from the CET study, CPCC will take a number of steps to enhance our programs that support the region’s energy sector,” said Bill Heitman, executive energy advisor and director of The Center for Energy Training. “These will include adding new labs for welding, with an emphasis on pipefitting and steamfitting, plus developing a certificate program to train supervisors in energy sector manufacturing. Additionally, the study underscored the need to explore the use of non-destructive examination (NDE) applications in concrete construction. The study also resulted in a state-of-the-art equipment donation to CPCC's Electrical Systems Technology program that will enable the college to enhance its instruction in the area of protective relay training, which focuses on the protection and distribution of power systems.

“In addition, The Center for Energy Training will work with companies to develop customized succession plans to respond to large numbers of retiring workers, with an increased emphasis on work-based learning, particularly apprenticeship programs,” Heitman explained.

CPCC established The Center for Energy Training in early 2013 to help ensure workforce development needs are met in this important economic and employment sector. CPCC created the Center with in-depth input from several employers in the energy sector, including Siemens, CB&I, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, 02 Energies, Celgard, ABB, Carotek, Coalogix, Areva, Parsons, URS, Westinghouse, Zachary, Lime Energy, Toshiba, Abundant Power, Crowder Construction, and Balfour Beatty Construction.

“The ability and success of the Charlotte region’s economy to sustain and grow its energy sector will depend, in large part, on how well we develop talent pipelines to ensure employers have a reliable source of qualified and highly skilled workers,” Heitman added. “Through the partnerships we are establishing with the Center, we can help secure the viability of energy-sector employers for years to come.”

For more information about The Center for Energy Training and workforce development needs within the Charlotte region’s energy sector, see www.cpcc.edu/energy, or contact Heitman at 704.330.4677 or bill.heitman@cpcc.edu.