By: Chris Levesque, President and CEO
The thing I’ve enjoyed most during my career in nuclear energy is the people I’ve met along the way. Those in the industry know that our work is fulfilling not only because of its benefits to society, but also because it is super interesting and technically challenging. Whether you are a research scientist, an engineer, a plant operator, or a craft welder, you know that nuclear energy development and operations require excellence and teamwork.
As a member of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) first Energy Workforce Advisory Board (EWAB), I am looking forward to this journey that will help shape the future of America’s energy landscape. The EWAB will be advising Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on strategies to develop a skilled workforce that can meet the evolving demands of the U.S. energy system. The transition toward a cleaner energy economy is gaining momentum. As the President and CEO of TerraPower, growing a skilled and adaptable workforce during the clean energy transition is important to me and my colleagues.
The EWAB Mission
The mission of EWAB is clear: prioritize job creation, job quality and equitable access. Our energy workforce has been powering our economy for over a century. In this era of rapid change in the nation’s energy systems, the energy workforce must be prepared to embrace innovative technologies and methods. One great example of this transition is TerraPower’s NatriumTM demonstration project in Kemmerer, WY, where coal plant workers will transition to an advanced nuclear power plant.
Worker Diversity and Equity
One of the most energizing aspects of being part of EWAB is its dedication to supporting opportunities for young people and adults to prepare for, and connect with, a diverse range of energy-related jobs. We will pave the way for career pathways with mobility potential in the energy sector. This initiative will not only empower the workforce but also bolster the energy industry by fostering a talent pool that introduces fresh perspectives and cutting-edge ideas.
The EWAB’s commitment to equity in the energy sector is inspiring. As we chart a course towards a cleaner energy future, it is imperative that the benefits of this transition are accessible to all. By prioritizing the retention of workers from the current energy workforce along with underrepresented groups, promoting inclusive recruitment practices and ensuring accessible education and training opportunities, EWAB is shaping an energy workforce that is diverse, skilled and prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
I am excited to collaborate with my fellow board members, industry experts and policymakers to ensure that the U.S. energy workforce is equipped to thrive in the 21st century and beyond.