The energy industry is in the midst of a monumental shift, and U.S. employment is shifting along with it. While the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invests in clean energy technologies, it also invests in Americans through clean energy jobs—many of which are opening up now.
These jobs are and will be in manufacturing, construction, installation, skill-matching positions for fossil fuel workers, and more. Most of these will not require a college degree. These job opportunities will pop up throughout the country, including underserved communities.
These opportunities are a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, an unprecedented investment in the nation’s infrastructure that will create an average of 1.5 million jobs a year over the next decade, putting people to work to deliver clean, reliable, affordable power to all Americans.
Many clean energy jobs require skills workers already have, whether they’re in the field, an office, or a lab. Coal miners can transition into jobs harnessing geothermal power, for example. In April 2021, DOE announced $109.5 million to support job creation in communities affected by the clean energy transition.
Another example is Kevin Jones, who made the transition from being an earth scientist in the oil and gas industry to a technology manager at the Geothermal Technologies Office in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Now Jones leverages his expertise in subsurface operations and technology to mitigate climate change. He is working on the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy project to accelerate the development and deployment of clean, domestic geothermal resources.
Supporting Workforce Development
DOE has ambitious but achievable goals to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035 and the entire U.S. economy by 2050. To get there, every EERE technology office has set targets to reduce the cost of renewable power, increase the percentage of renewable power on the electric grid, and more. Considering President Biden set a goal for half of U.S. passenger vehicles to be electric by 2030, that’s a lot of cars, batteries, and chargers to build.
Delivering on EERE’s strategic priorities means training and hiring more people do this work. To help, EERE funds education and training for people on clean energy career paths. For instance, EERE’s $6 million EMPOWERED funding program supports organizations developing training programs for emergency responders, building managers and owners, and other officials interacting with solar energy and storage systems, alternative-fuel vehicles and their chargers, and energy-efficient building technologies.
In addition, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap will help advance DOE’s technical education and workforce development programs to research, develop, design, manufacture, and operate energy storage systems.
And to create local jobs, the $16 million Communities LEAP pilot program helps low-income communities leverage resources to ensure they remain the architects and developers of their clean energy future.
Finding a Clean Energy Job
Whether you’re a student, a veteran, a fossil fuel worker, or in another industry altogether, you can apply for a clean energy job.
The Clean Energy Corps is recruiting 1,000 diverse and talented individuals to research, develop, and deploy solutions to supercharge the clean energy revolution. To figure out where you fit in, visit EERE’s resources for clean energy career seekers, which touch on every technology area and include career maps to guide you through the possibilities of working in bioenergy, hydrogen and fuel cells, green buildings, and other areas.