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Energy Workforce Development: Training Programs Help Fill Industry's Knowledge Gap
By John Ferrare, Enerdynamics' CEO
We've all heard that it’s coming: a significant workforce gap created by the huge percentages of the gas and electric workforce that are at or near retirement age. When waves of seasoned industry professionals retire, a young and relatively inexperienced breed of new hires will eagerly fill the positions. But with little or no industry experience, how will affected companies survive the learning curve? Proactive training. Forward-thinking companies have anticipated the inevitable and created mentoring and educational programs to help fill the knowledge gap.
In my role at Enerdynamics, I have been fortunate to work with a number of companies seeking to fill this unavoidable gap. For many, energy business acumen (or in laymen's terms, a basic understanding of how the gas and electric industries really work) can take decades to master. Or, for those whose area of expertise is a specific function such as accounting, a solid understanding of the energy industry’s inner workings may never be mastered. So the question becomes this: How does a company effectively and efficiently teach the fundamentals of its industry to an increasing number of new hires who have no industry experience whatsoever?
Enerdynamics offers a variety of solutions. The one that best fits an organization greatly depends on a company’s culture. For some, our introductory seminars – Gas Business Understanding and Electric Business Understanding – are a perfect match. Each presents a comprehensive introduction to the industry in a two-day, instructor-led seminar held on site at a company’s location of choice. Advantages include an intense and interactive learning environment and the opportunity to have industry concepts explained or questions answered by a subject matter expert.
For other corporate cultures, online training is a better option. For these companies Enerdynamics offers Gas Industry Overview and Electric Industry Overview, each a four-hour online introduction to its respective business. While similar to their seminar counterparts, these online courses require just a four-hour time commitment versus two days to attend a seminar. Per-employee costs are less, and each is presented in shorter modules (typically 45 minutes to an hour) that can be finished in one sitting.
Lastly, for those cultures that still value the written word, our training books – Understanding Today's Natural Gas Business and Understanding Today's Electricity Business – are an excellent option. In fact, I just spoke to a client today who plans to send these books to company interns in advance of their arrival in hopes they show up on Day One with a basic understanding of the business.
Of course, energy business acumen training is but one piece of the very large training puzzle HR departments face in the coming years. Yet the benefits to clients who do offer energy business acumen training are clear. Participants tell us time and time again: a) an understanding of industry basics helps them do their jobs better; and b) they wish they'd had the training earlier. The alternative, of course, is to hope that industry knowledge will be gained on the job. But with fewer and fewer veterans to transfer that knowledge, I suspect this will get more and more difficult.
Enerdynamics' introductions to the gas and electric business are available in a variety of media and price points: instructor-led seminars, online courses and books. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on a custom program that meets your budget and your needs.