Naruc task force directs utilities, regulators toward workforce reinforcements – daily energy insider hp gas online refill booking status


The task force, established by NARUC’s executive committee last year to review, assess and disperse best practices and lessons learned to both the utility and government sectors, on April 11 released the Report of the Task Force on Military Workforce Development: A 10-Step Guide to guide development of a capable workforce and to create opportunities for United States military veterans.

“A skilled and knowledgeable workforce is critical to effective utility and regulatory functions, making the aging of the utility and regulatory workforce a serious issue,” task force chairwoman Judith Jagdmann, a commissioner with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC), writes in the report.

In fact, 25 percent of American employees in electric and natural gas utilities will be ready to retire in less than five years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) January 2017 report, Quadrennial Energy Review Second Installment: Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System .

“The aging workforce of the electricity sector is not unique in the U.S. economy, yet its specific skills requirements and the importance of the industry to national security and economic prosperity elevate the importance of its workforce management,” DOE reported, noting that more than 1.9 million people are employed in jobs related to electric power generation and fuels, and another 2.2 million people work in industries directly or partially related to energy efficiency.

In addition to needing a required skill set, incoming employees will need a wide array of new skills, DOE said, to handle the “proliferation of information and communications technologies and new technologies like distributed generation, smart home devices and electric battery storage.”

Most importantly for the times, according to the report, the electricity industry will need a cross-disciplinary power grid workforce that can “comprehend, design, and manage cyber-physical systems,” and “will increasingly require a workforce adept in risk assessment, behavioral science, and familiarity with cyber hygiene.”

While such evolving demands on the electricity industry are causing challenges, at the same time, the evolution of the industry is also creating new workforce opportunities, including jobs in renewable energy, natural gas and information and communications technology, DOE said.

“The electricity sector’s full potential will only be realized if its workforce is able to appropriately adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the 21st-century electricity system,” the DOE report said. “A skilled workforce that can build, operate, and manage this modernized grid infrastructure is an essential component for the sector’s development.”

Toward finding an industry workforce solution, Jagdmann and the other members of the NARUC Task Force on Military Workforce Development gathered information during the last year of NARUC meetings, panel discussions and research to develop its 10-step guidance plan for companies and state commissions that are initiating or revising veterans hiring programs.

The report’s summarized steps are to: 1) Identify executive and human resources leads. 2) Identify current veterans and other employees with military experience. 3) Support current veterans. 4) Identify new workforce needs. 5) Locate local assistance to find veterans seeking employment. 6) Create military-friendly job descriptions. 7) Post jobs on multiple military-connected job sites. 8) Get familiar with your state employment law. 9) Welcome and engage new veteran hires. 10) Evaluate post-application hiring process and program results.

“The Task Force has amassed an impressive body of resources that will benefit the veteran community, as well as state commissions and utility companies,” said NARUC President John Betkoski III, a commissioner for the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in an April 11 statement. “We are grateful for the leadership of Commissioner Jagdmann in bringing this effort to fruition.”

The 146-page report also includes several appendices that list detailed veterans hiring manuals, draft military-related language to use in job postings, national career resource website links for veterans and company- and state-specific resources.

Although the task force charter ends now that it has completed work on this workforce report, the group noted that as the industry continues facing “an ever-increasing retiring workforce at a time when we are undergoing dynamic change in the utility and government sectors, it is critical now more than ever, that utilities, public service commissions, and interested stakeholders thoughtfully collaborate on ways to develop successful veteran workforce opportunities.”