Energy Department creates Jobs Strategy Council to Focus on Job Growth in Energy Economy

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary Moniz announced the creation of the Jobs Strategy Council (JSC), an initiative focused on accelerating job growth in American-made clean energy sources while implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan, during a roundtable with the business leaders of Energy Intensive, Trade Exposed industries and their unions, the United Steelworkers, the United Autoworkers, the Machinists, the IUE-CWA, and the AFL-CIO. Building on the President’s effort laid out in the State of the Union to empower working Americans with the education and training they need to earn higher wages and to encourage businesses to decide to innovate and create good, high-paying jobs, the Council will integrate the research, technical and economic resources of the Energy Department to respond to the workforce and economic development needs of the energy industry.

 “The energy sector has created tens of thousands of good-paying jobs that lay the foundation for long-term careers and provide a major opportunity for social mobility in disadvantaged communities,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Technological advances in oil and gas extraction, the doubling of renewable energy production in five years, and steady growth in energy efficiency are instrumental for America’s economic recovery and will continue to be imperative to supporting innovation for our 21st century energy system.”

Continued growth in energy production is expected to produce 2.4 million STEM jobs in the next three years. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the jobs created in STEM fields paid, on average, between 160 to more than 300 percent more than the U.S. average. This growth can be seen across the energy sector:

  • Solar: According to the Solar Foundation, as of 2014, there were nearly 174,000 jobs in the solar industry. That represents 86 percent employment growth since 2010.
  • Manufacturing: After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is coming back, adding 786,000 new jobs since February 2010.
  • Wind: According to AWEA, an estimated 85,000 Americans are currently employed in the wind power industry and related fields.
  • Oil and Gas: As reported by the Energy Information Administration, between 2003 and 2012, employment in the oil and gas industry increased by 92 percent

Increased demand for STEM jobs and an aging energy workforce throughout many energy sectors has created a skills gap that the Jobs Strategy Council will work to address through partnerships with the private sector, community college systems, union apprenticeship programs, and other educational institutions, building upon the groundwork set forth in President Obama’s Ready to Work job training strategy. The Council will also assist the private sector, municipalities and states with the development of a resource tool kit and workshop materials that instruct states on how to access the Department’s technical knowledge and funding opportunities to create state-based energy jobs plans.

Working with industry partners and other federal agencies the Council will develop a methodology for providing consistent, usable data measuring energy job growth to take advantage of economic opportunities and more clearly align work force development systems with energy industry skills’ needs.

The Council consists of members from 20 offices within the Department of Energy, including representatives from the Department’s National Laboratories.  It will also work directly on interagency partnerships with the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs.  The Council will meet quarterly and is chaired by The Secretary of Energy.


Editor’s note: This press release has been edited to reflect the correct percent increase of employment in the oil and gas industry.