CPCC study identifies skilled trade occupations most important to energy sector companies

last modified Apr 14, 2014 08:59 AM

The Center for Energy Training at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) has completed a study to pinpoint the skilled trade occupations of highest importance to energy sector companies in the Charlotte region over the next five years. This information will help CPCC and the region’s other community colleges structure their job-training programs to meet the demands of this important employer group.

The Center for Energy Training conducted the study in cooperation with 22 energy companies that employ more than 15,500 people in the Charlotte region. These companies represent a range of business models, including engineering services, construction, manufacturing and power generation. The goal of the research is to help ensure the region’s energy companies have a pipeline of skilled workers in the years to come.

“The results of this survey will help enhance our region's talent pipeline by ensuring CPCC’s curriculum continues to be market driven,” said Richard Zollinger, CPCC vice president for learning and workforce development. “This forward-looking information will help us align future investments with the occupations and skills valued most by local employers. Additionally, the survey will give our students invaluable information as they chart their career paths.”

The skilled trade occupations identified by the study typically require less than a bachelor’s degree but more than a high school diploma. This finding mirrors a recent “Harvard Business Review” article that reported, “ . . . labor market experts estimate that as many as 25 million or 47 percent of all new job openings from 2010 to 2020 will fall into the middle skills range…jobs that require postsecondary technical education and training and, in some cases, college math courses or degrees.”

The high importance occupations identified in the Center for Energy Training survey, categorized by business model, include:


  • Maintenance and Repair Workers
  • Planners and Schedulers
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Supervisors of Machinists, Installers and Repairers
  • Computer User Support Specialists

Engineering Services and Construction:

  • Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers
  • Construction Managers
  • Planners and Schedulers
  • Pipefitters and Steamfitters
  • Welders, Cutter and Welder Fitters
  • Electricians
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, Weighers


Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution:

  • Control and Valve Installers and Repairers
  • Non Destructive Testing Specialists
  • Pipefitters and Steamfitters
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Welders, Cutter and Welder Fitters
  • Electronics Engineering Technician


The following companies participated in the survey.

  • ABB Inc.
  • AMEC
  • Areva Inc.
  • ATI Allvac Inc.
  • Carotek Inc.
  • CB&I Power
  • Celgard LLC
  • Coalogix Inc.
  • Conbraco Industries Inc.
  • Crowder Construction Co.
  • Duke Energy Corp.
  • Duracell P&G
  • O2 Energies
  • Parsons Environment & Infrastructure
  • PENTA Engineering PA
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Co.
  • Siemens Energy Inc.
  • SPX Corp.
  • Toshiba American Nuclear Energy Corp.
  • Trane Inc.
  • Zachry
  • Zapata Inc.

“The understanding and planning of the talent pipeline is critical to the long term well-being of a company,” said Charlie Gates, senior vice president of power generation operations at Duke Energy. “We will definitely use this kind of data in our workforce strategy.”

For more information about the Center for Energy Training, contact Bill Heitman, CPCC’s executive energy advisor, at 704.330.4676 or bill.heitman@cpcc.edu. Additional information also can be found on the Center for Energy Training website – www.cpcc.edu/energy.