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Dec 14, 2021

Webinar Recap: Workforce Development Can’t Wait

DOE, BPA, and NASCSP discussed workforce development in a virtual webinar moderated by CHH Consulting. Industry faces challenges, including lack of interest and awareness among young people and need for streamlined career pathways and market demand. Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator and WAP Wage Survey are efforts to address these challenges. BPA's Training and Careers Hub serves as a centralized connection point for the industry

Man with headphones on waving at his computer.

Today, presenters from the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Building Performance Association (BPA), and the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) spoke virtually on a workforce development update with the help of moderator Caroline Hazard of CHH Consulting.

The webinar, titled “Workforce Development Update: Where We Are, Where We’re Going, and How We’re Getting There,” had one major focus: our industry’s work can’t wait. There are, however, a few obstacles we need to overcome. Workforce development issues consistently rank as a top concern for the building performance industry, but, as DOE’s Madeline Salzman discussed, our industry lacks interest and awareness among young people. The industry could also use support in streamlining its career pathways as people enter the workforce and, of course, needs market demand. But not to worry: we’re working on solutions to all of those challenges, as you can see in the image below.

Salzman also highlighted the work of the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator, a multi-year effort to engage a network of partners supporting the vision of the U.S. building workforce as a global leader in delivering quality efficiency products and services to American residents and businesses, thereby increasing energy affordability across the economy.

After Salzman, the group heard from Andrea Schroer of NASCSP who spoke primarily on their WAP Wage Survey, which had input from 27 states and 286 weatherization providers. The goal of the survey was to learn more about US wages and workforce development in the Weatherization Assistance Program in 2021. It can now be used by employers for both job recruitment and retention.

NASCSP formed a Workforce Development Working Group in 2020, and one of their goals is to complete this wage data survey every couple of years.

Lastly, we heard from BPA’s Xavier Walter, who spoke of the Association’s “boots on the ground” approach to involving state stakeholders and addressing real-time needs. The goal is that BPA will provide workforce development solutions from its nationwide network of state affiliates. (You can learn more about BPA’s Workforce Development Needs Assessment here.)

Walter also provided an overview of BPA’s Training and Careers Hub, which serves as a centralized connection point for the industry to access curated training curricula, training providers, job postings, and career development resources.

The panel took a few questions from the participants to end the session and moderator Hazard closed it out by saying that, together, we’re working to strengthen the industry’s collective voice.

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