Scroll down to view video testimonials of five women who gained careers in the energy workforce, starting with registered apprenticeship.
We are working to build a clean energy future at a rapid pace and scale. This ambition will require hundreds of thousands of additional workers to gain skills critical to building, maintaining and operating clean energy infrastructure. One of the most effective and proven workforce training options to equip people with those skills is registered apprenticeship (RA).
As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, now is an ideal time to spotlight the critical role registered apprenticeship programs will play in building a large, diverse clean energy workforce to propel the clean energy transition—and to emphasize that more women can benefit from the transformative economic opportunity that comes from becoming an apprentice, completing one’s program, and securing a good quality career in the energy workforce. Although representation of women in the energy workforce has grown, women are still vastly under-represented at just 26% of the energy workforce in 2022, compared to 47% of the overall workforce.
Registered apprenticeship provides on-the job training, a wage from day one that grows over time, a national-recognized and industry-valued credential at the completion of the program, classroom instruction and mentorship. The combination of these strategies has been shown to effectively equip people with skills to not only perform the technical tasks required of many energy jobs (e.g. electrician, line maintainer, power-line distribution erector), but also to obtain rewarding careers and succeed in their fields.
As the energy sector grows, we will gain vast numbers of jobs that work especially well with the registered apprenticeship model—i.e. work that requires skills gained through hands-on as well as classroom training, and jobs that can be obtained through a portable, industry-valued credential. Additionally, demand for registered apprentices in clean energy will grow dramatically in the near future, in large part because the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax incentives increase the base amounts of the credit/deduction by 5 times when eligible projects adhere to registered apprenticeship and prevailing wage standards. In other words, clean energy projects all around the country will strongly prioritize hiring and retaining registered apprentices in the construction, alteration or repair of their relevant project. And with women still vastly under-represented in the energy workforce, now is an ideal time for a range of stakeholders in the energy sector to adopt or strengthen strategies to recruit, retain and support women in registered apprenticeship programs.
Registered apprenticeship in energy is an especially effective pathway to economic security because a great deal of registered apprenticeship in the construction and building trades is overseen by labor unions. This means that apprentices enjoy the higher wage, stronger safety training, greater pay equality and other benefits of union membership when they start their training and throughout their subsequent careers.
Watch each of the below short videos to hear direct accounts from five women who found rewarding, empowering careers working on energy projects—each starting as an apprentice.