Energy and mineral resources are essential for the nation’s fundamental functions, its economy, and its security. Energy in the United States comes from a variety of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energies, all with established commercial industry bases. Mineral resources include fuels (oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium), and nonfuel minerals. Nonfuel minerals are essential for the existence and operation of products and services used by people every day and are provided by various sectors of the mining industry. The United States is the largest electric power producer, with about 1,100 GW of generating capacity, serving the world’s largest economy. The overall value added to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 by major industries that consumed processed nonfuel mineral materials was $2.2 trillion. A skilled workforce is essential to supply the energy and mineral needs of the nation. This report examines the energy and mining workforce trends and issues, and proposes approaches to address crucial, emerging needs.
Numerous reports have discussed the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce and the potential impacts of the widespread retirement of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 (the “baby boomers”) on many workforce sectors. The industries that support the production of energy and mineral resources, including the institutions that train their workers, and conduct research for, or regulate these industries, are impacted by these changes. These industries also are responding to increased demand for energy and products derived from minerals as the domestic and global populations increase.
Recognizing the importance of understanding the state of the U.S. energy and mining workforce to ensure a trained and skilled workforce of sufficient size for the future, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology
Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee will conduct a study of the availability of skilled workers to meet the energy and mineral security requirements of the United States.
This study will include an analysis of:
(1) The need for and availability of workers for the oil, natural gas, coal, geologic carbon sequestration, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, and non-fuel minerals industries;
(2) The availability of skilled labor at both entry level and more senior levels; and
(3) Recommendations for actions needed to meet future labor requirements.
Specifically, this study will, to the extent possible given available data:
(1) Provide historic and current trends in the size, growth, and demographics of the workforce in these industries, disaggregating for each industry and sector (business, government, and academia) and identifying the main worker groups by sector and occupation.
(2) Examine key labor market characteristics of the workforce in each industry, including sectoral workplace practices and any labor market impediments, constraints, and failures.
(3) Discuss future demand for and supply of workers in these industries, sectors, and occupations.
(4) Describe current and projected education and training programs for these groups at community and technical colleges and universities or through other on-the-job or job-specific training and re-training initiatives.
(5) Discuss the potential for skilled foreign labor meeting projected sectoral labor requirements.
(6) Assess potential job health and safety impacts and national security of a long-term (more than three years) workforce shortage or surplus.
(7) Describe and evaluate data sources available, federal data collection and coordination, and possible research initiatives for future decision making on workforce issues.
Laboratory contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to perform a study of the emerging workforce trends in the U.S. energy and mining industries. Accordingly, the NRC convened a committee of experts to perform the study and to prepare this report on its findings. The study’s statement of task is presented in Box S.1.
All of the energy industries in the statement of task contribute to satisfying the nation’s energy needs. The related area of geologic carbon sequestration, involving the subsurface storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), is part of the larger area of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). Within CCUS, technologies are being developed to minimize CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and to provide CO2 to enhance oil production from mature fields. The committee addressed the potential workforce for CCUS to cover both sequestration and CO2-enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR).
A view into the future of the workforce is important for avoiding possible disruptions in the supply of energy and mineral resources and for making well-informed decisions and plans for a workforce that can continue to meet national needs.
The committee considered the information and data available from a variety of sources because no single entity collects, analyzes, and reports data on all aspects of the energy and mining workforce.
Data from federal sources were used where possible, because they are heavily vetted and collected using standard protocols. Federal sources were used to provide a snapshot of the nature and composition of the energy and mining workforce. Although helpful for a broad overview, especially of the mature industries (oil and gas, nuclear energy, and mining), the federal data have some limitations in terms of the level of detail of codes used to classify workers in various industry sectors and a lack of information on self-employed workers. In characterizing the workforce, information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was mainly used. Other federal data sources that were used are the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and FedScope, which was used to provide workforce information on the primary federal agencies responsible for management and oversight of energy and mining).1 Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) were used to describe current and projected future industry markets and trends, which provide possible insights into industry employment trends, and EIA projections for oil and gas extraction and coal mining were also used.2
Where data on market size, trends, and projections and on employment were available from sources other than the federal government, they also were used to provide a more complete view of each industry and its workforce. Such sources included industry, industry associations, professional societies, and academic sources. Given the limitations of the federal data, these additional data were helpful in supplementing the committee’s understanding of the industries and their workforces, especially in the case of the emerging industries, for which federal data are absent.
The available data sets were collected by different entities for different purposes using a variety of methods, and these entities do not coordinate their
1 Federal data sources are described in Appendix A. Appendix B addresses Task 1 of the statement of task, which requests trends in the size, growth, and demographics of the energy and mining workforce, disaggregating each industry of interest by sector and occupation. The future demand for and supply of workers in these industries, sectors, and occupations are also discussed. Data tables are also contained in Appendix C. The Appendixes are available in digital format at http://www.nap.edu
2 BLS data are used for EIA projections.
data collection and analysis efforts, making direct data comparisons difficult and imprecise, and combining data sets generally impossible. Moreover, the data do not provide a complete view of the industries or their workforces.
The report primarily addresses the generation or extractive portion of the energy and mining industries, CCUS, the electric grid (including the Smart Grid), the federal workforce responsible for research and regulation, workforce safety and health, and education and training opportunities for workers at all levels, including the pool of qualified educators.
The available workforce estimates for the energy and mining industries are summarized below. When they exist, workforce projections are mostly short term and carry significant uncertainty. Projection time frames also vary considerably among the different sources. Detailed discussions of the data and their sources are given in the report and Appendixes A and B.
For examining energy and mining employment, BLS data have limitations as described above. They are helpful for an overview of the mature industries, but it is currently infeasible to examine the workforce of the emerging industries (solar, wind, geothermal, and CCUS) using BLS data. Available data are summarized by industry as follows.
Oil and Gas: BLS data indicate that the workforce in oil and gas extraction, well drilling, and support activities for oil and gas operations is about 494,200 (2010), and the oil and gas extraction workforce is expected to grow from 158,900 in 2010 to 182,100 in 2020.3 EIA projects increases in oil production through 2030 and in gas production through 2035, but for employment in the oil and gas extraction sector to decline from 2020 through 2035.
Nuclear Energy: BLS estimates employment in the nuclear electric power generation industry to be about 56,800 (2010; 93 percent in the private sector); no future projections are provided by BLS. The U.S. nuclear power industry is in a transformational state, and the future of nuclear power plant construction is difficult to predict. The most optimistic scenario (nuclear power continuing to supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity) has the potential for 287,200-359,000 man-years of labor for building new nuclear units, and 8,000-17,500 jobs to operate them, with additional jobs for maintenance and outages. Although difficult to estimate, jobs will exist in other industry sectors not directly affected by plant construction.
Mining (Nonfuel and Coal): BLS estimates that employment for nonfuel mining is about 128,000 (2010; about 122,600 in mining/quarrying, 5,400 in support activities for mining, with all but 268 in the private sector), and private-sector employment is projected to rise to 125,600 for mining/quarrying by 2020.4
3 This excludes self-employed workers.
4 The BLS data undercount contractor employment.
MSHA estimates that nonfuel mining employment is about 225,600 (2010; about 160,100 for mining operators and 65,500 for contractors).
BLS estimates that employment for coal mining is about 81,100 and 8,100 for support activities for coal mining (2010; totalling roughly 89,200), with all in the private sector. BLS projects coal mining employment to decrease to 77,500 by 2020. MSHA estimates that operator employment is about 89,200 and contractor employment is about 46,300 (2010; totalling about 135,500).5 EIA projects coal mining employment to increase through 2035.
Solar Energy: The Solar Foundation estimates that there are about 119,000 solar workers (2012). A National Renewable Energy Laboratory study indicates that, if the solar development defined in its SunShot scenario6 is achieved, 290,000 new solar jobs could result by 2030 and 390,000 by 2050. EIA projects strong solar market growth through 2035.
Wind Energy: The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the wind energy industry employs 75,000 workers (2011). EIA projects strong growth in wind generation through 2035.
Geothermal Energy: The Geothermal Energy Association estimates that the geothermal industry supports about 5,200 direct jobs and the total direct, indirect, and induced impact of geothermal energy represents about 13,100 jobs (2010). The EIA projects healthy growth for geothermal power generation and the number of residential geothermal heat pumps through 2035.
CCUS: CO2 capture and sequestration is unlikely to become a significant industry absent government policies, incentives, and regulations for large reductions in CO2 emissions. Continued growth in projects using CO2-EOR can be expected. Employment data for a prospective CCUS industry are not available. Speculative estimates show that, if large-scale implementation of CO2-EOR occurs and the amount of CCUS quadruples by 2030, a workforce of 14,000-36,000 would be needed. More accelerated estimates suggest that 35,000-90,000, or even 100,000 workers might be needed. A reasonable assumption is that the CCUS workforce in 2030 will be a small fraction of today’s existing oil and gas workforce.
THE BIG PICTURE
Despite the data shortcomings, the available data and information provide a clear indication of the nature of the energy and mining workforce and its related, important trends, issues, and concerns.
5 The BLS figures undercount coal mining employment, likely due to the undercounting of contractor employment.
6 The SunShot scenario assumes that the SunShot Initiative’s targets will be reached by 2020. The targets are for installed system prices of $1/W for utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems, $1.25/W for commercial rooftop PV systems, $1.50/W for residential rooftop PV systems, and $3.60/W for concentrating solar power systems with a capacity of up to 14 hours of thermal energy storage.
The present and future are bright for energy and mining jobs. Demand for workers at all levels will remain strong for the foreseeable future and these jobs will continue to pay well. However, there are factors adversely affecting the current workforce, and their negative impact will continue to grow unless addressed.
A major factor impacting all of the energy and mining industries is that about a third of the U.S. workforce comprises baby boomers who are poised to retire in great numbers by the end of this decade. Moreover, there are too few younger workers in the pipeline7 to replace them. A related issue is the need to capture the knowledge of experienced employees before they leave.
Education and Training
Another major crosscutting factor is that a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills is needed for many energy and mining jobs, and the need is growing at all levels as STEM principles are increasingly applied in the workplace. The current pipeline of STEM-capable students and workers is inadequate to meet workforce needs.
STEM preparation begins in K-12. The poor preparation of high school students is well known. High dropout rates and a lack of alternative pathways to high school graduation8 are also problems. Improvement in curricula and teacher preparation is a key need, and this report highlights examples of programs addressing the need. K-12 issues are discussed in numerous other reports, so this report focuses primarily on postsecondary education.
Many energy and mining jobs require some education beyond high school, but the majority do not require a 4-year degree. This need for some post-secondary education is growing because, as the workplace becomes increasingly reliant on technology, new workers require different skills than their predecessors. Strategies to meet this need will go beyond current educational approaches.
Industry–education partnerships, particularly at community colleges or in the first 2 years of higher education, have emerged as critical to the nation’s energy and mining future. They are designed to create competency-based educational pathways to careers in industry. Successful models exist in manufacturing—closely aligned with the energy industry—and in several energy sectors (nuclear power, electrical transmission, and, most recently, renewable energy). There is
7 The pipeline is defined as K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions and programs, including community colleges, universities, vocational technical institutes, specialty training facilities and programs, and apprenticeship programs that train and prepare people to join the energy and mining workforce.
8 Such alternatives would include career and technical education pathways that integrate academic and project-based learning.
great potential for extending this model into all of the energy and mining industries in parternship with educational and governmental organizations.
In this model, basic skills are building blocks for industry careers. These skills can be learned in secondary or community college programs, resulting in high school and/or college credit and degrees, and industry-granted skill certifications. Skill certifications map to career and educational pathways.
Community colleges are proving to be the best vehicle for delivering the technician-level, skills-based education that the energy and mining industries need in a STEM technical workforce. They provide postsecondary education from 1-year certificates through associate’s degrees, and are often the first 2 years of higher education leading to degrees in 4-year institutions.
Specialized programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels are also needed, especially for mining, petroleum engineering, and geosciences. They reside in traditional bachelor’s engineering and science programs at specialized universities and in new programs, such as professional science master’s programs.
Scientists and engineers from universities are also essential. Until recently, university geoscience departments and faculty, along with undergraduate enrollment, had been decreasing. In the past few years, these trends have reversed, and petroleum engineering has had similar trends. (These disciplines are needed in the oil and gas, geothermal, and CCUS industries.) There also has been a long decline in mining and mineral engineering programs and faculty, with the U.S. graduating a nonsustaining number of mining engineers.
A common, serious problem for these disciplines is a faculty shortage, which impacts the oil and gas, mining, and geothermal workforces, and possibly eventually the CCUS workforce, if this workforce grows significantly and a geoscience faculty shortage persists. Unless this is corrected, the nation risks losing its capacity to provide new science and engineering professionals for the workforce. Increased industry and federal government funding is needed for academic research to attract and train students and strengthen faculty.
There is a pressing need to attract young people (including ethnic minorities and women), starting at an early age, into STEM programs and into technical programs that lead to energy and mining careers. The need is particularly acute for the oil and gas industry because of the big changes this industry is already experiencing but it is also crucial for the other energy and mining industries. An opportunity exists for industry and government to recruit these groups. Investments are required in organizations, institutions, and faculty that have educational outreach programs focused on young students, ethnic minorities, and women. Examples of successful programs are highlighted in the report for possible emulation in multiple energy and mining sectors.
Oil and Gas: The oil and gas workforce is in transition. The age demographics concentrate at the younger and older ends of the age spectrum, creating a gap in experience and maturity between retiring and younger workers, and making it difficult to replace retiring leadership.
Nuclear Energy: The nuclear industry is in a transitional phase, and precise prediction of the future workforce need is difficult. However, with coming retirements, the current pipeline of future workers is inadequate to meet expected needs.
Mining (Nonfuel and Coal): A personnel crisis for salaried and hourly workers is pending, and already exists for faculty.
Solar Energy: There is a shortage of trained workers for the solar industry. An interactive solar career map is available online to allow users to explore opportunities for entering a specific solar occupation and to identify possible routes for career changes.9
Wind Energy: Coming retirements, continued long-term growth in the wind industry, and competition from the manufacturing, construction, and other energy sectors will exacerbate the existing shortage of workers.
Geothermal Energy: It is difficult for the geothermal industry to compete with the mining and petroleum industries for geoscience and engineering professionals, and growing demand in these other industries will exacerbate this problem.
CCUS: The geologic sequestration workforce straddles the environmental consulting and the oil and gas industries. With some retraining, a workforce exists for this industry. For the foreseeable future, absent a strong climate change policy, there is likely to be a sufficiently large workforce. However, unless increased student recruitment is sustained, the lack of a strong geosciences workforce could limit CCUS implementation.
The Electric Grid: The electric utility industry faces a near-term shortage of skilled workers, particularly power engineers. One study found fewer than five very strong power engineering programs in U.S. universities. Companies also are having difficulty finding qualified workers to fill skilled craft jobs. Enhancing the electric grid into a Smart Grid would offer benefits, including a more reliable system and increased integration of wind and solar systems. An estimated 81,600 jobs could be created during Smart Grid deployment and 27,200 jobs following deployment.
Federal Energy and Extractive Industry Workforce: Federal agencies play a key role in the energy and extractive industries, but those interviewed by the committee are having difficulty attracting and retaining qualified workers. The reasons expressed include the government’s inability to match industry salaries
and benefits, and the fact that many agency field offices are geographically located in areas that are not attractive to many potential candidates. Federal managers find it increasingly difficult to post vacancies and fill them with qualified candidates. They view the internal human resources systems as cumbersome and intolerant of innovation. Agencies are using various approaches to mitigate workforce difficulties, but the recruitment and retention of knowledgeable employees remain major concerns.
Safety and Health in Extractive Industries: Safety and health training for all new employees is critical and more effective if trainers are industry knowledgeable. It is also important for experienced workers to mentor younger workers and for companies to capture the knowledge of experienced workers before they leave and to use that knowledge to train new generations. To maintain safety in an increasingly diverse workplace, it is important that supervisors and managers be trained in how to lead and communicate with a diverse workforce.
Educating and Training in Earth Resources Engineering: The establishment of several interdisciplinary graduate Centers of Excellence in Earth Resources Engineering at leading research universities could help alleviate science and engineering challenges faced by the extractive industries (petroleum, mining, and geological engineering), provide more holistic earth resources curricula, and develop the professional expertise that industry needs.
Immigration Policy: Current workforce-related immigration programs are misaligned with the need to increase the STEM professionals and STEM technical workforce. Although reformed policies could be helpful, it is most important to pursue strategies to produce domestic talent.
OVERARCHING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In considering the breadth of information covered in this study, the committee chose to formulate the following set of overarching findings and recommendations to capture the key, fundamental themes contained in the full array of its findings and recommendations. The committee’s full findings and recommendations, along with the information and data to support them, are provided within the report. The overarching recommendations have equal importance and should be initiated as soon as possible. Indicated with each recommendation is the time frame expected for it to become fully operational after initiation. Short term is defined as 2 years or less, medium term as 2-5 years, and long term as more than 5 years. All are expected to continue for the long term.
Traditional routes to degrees in higher education do not adequately align curriculum to energy and mining industry requirements. They are also increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible and therefore do not provide enough qualified
STEM-educated workers and professionals to fulfill the nation’s energy and mining workforce needs.
The goal in addressing the shortfalls of the current education pipeline is to create an education system that can respond to changes in the economy more quickly and produce a more flexible, STEM-competent workforce, resulting in students equipped with multiple skills and levels of skills, preparing them to adjust more quickly to industry requirements and job availability by moving and advancing on career lattices.
Finding 1: Community colleges are providing important new pathways for supplying the energy and mining workforce by providing direct alignment among their programs of study, the credentials they bestow, and industry education and skill requirements.
Finding 2: With a direct alignment to industry education and skill requirements, the success of education programs can be measured by successful attainment of employment and advancement opportunities in the energy and mining industries.
Recommendation 1: The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Labor, state departments of education, and national industry organizations, should convene (perhaps in workshops or as a working group) critical industry, government, and educational leaders to create and support new approaches that provide multiple pathways in higher education that take full advantage of the attributes of our higher education system. Recognizing the differences in regional workforce requirements, these workshops and/or meetings should be convened in different parts of the country. These models would benefit greatly from including, for example:
- Community colleges integrating industry-recognized credentials, their learning standards, and content into associate degree programs. This approach would provide more “on” and “off” ramps to postsecondary education, resulting in stackable interim credentials with real value in the labor market and leading to direct employment or continuing postsecondary educational opportunities; and
- Partnerships between 4-year colleges and universities and community colleges to create new pathways for STEM curriculum. The first 2 years of STEM-related programs of study would be offered at the community college and the second 2 years would be offered at the university, thereby expanding the capacity of the critical university degree programs. (Short Term)
No one sector—government, industry, or education—can provide the needed energy and mining workforce on its own. University research can also contribute to workforce development by enhancing the education pipeline.
Finding 3: Ensuring that the United States has the educated and skilled workforce necessary for the success of the energy and mining industries requires a strong partnership among business, education at all levels, and the government.
Finding 4: Technical research leads not only to innovation—the lifeblood of industry’s business success—but also to better education and educators.
Recommendation 2: To address common goals and to provide a mechanism for industry’s engagement with the education process and the graduates it produces, federal agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, DOE, Department of Defense, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and National Institutes of Health) should consider providing increased research funding to universities, with matching funding from industry and specific requirements to incorporate two outcomes from the research: (1) advancing technology or business processes to drive innovation and enrich graduate and undergraduate education; and (2) developing university faculty who work on the cutting edge of research to enhance the quality of higher education. The engagement of both faculty and graduate students in this research will extend the pool of STEM-qualified faculty for all educational levels. (Short Term)
Energy and Mining Information for the Public
Importantly, building the best educational pathways in the world and the most qualified STEM faculty for our educational institutions does not mean that more students will pursue energy and mining programs of study. “Build it and they may not come.” The public perception of the mature extractive industries in the United States is often that they are environmentally damaging and their jobs are undesirable (due to concerns over pollution, noise, environmental degradation, and health issues, for example). This negative image dissuades some from pursuing careers in these industries. Also, although renewable energy is generally seen as positive, some negative perceptions (questionable technology viability, long-term existence, and cost-effectiveness, for example) exist that might dissuade people from joining those workforces. Information about all of these industries can educate the public about their importance to the nation and the career opportunities they offer. The government has a natural role to play in providing and disseminating such information as a complement to nongovernment sources. Information about these industries may also motivate students to pursue STEM
courses and prepare for careers in energy and mining. For example, about 7,000 students drop out of high school every school day in the United States, and about 1.3 million students do not graduate each year. Also, in 2011, only 25 percent of graduating high school seniors met or surpassed the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in the areas of science, math, reading, and English.
Finding 5: Students mostly do not stay in STEM courses in K-12 that would prepare them for STEM postsecondary education or employment.
Recommendation 3: National industry organizations, in partnership with educational institutions, should embark on a national campaign to create and provide accurate and timely information on the industries and their careers, educational and career navigation resources, and experiential learning opportunities to explore jobs and career paths in energy and mining. They should work with the Department of Labor and other government institutions to ensure that timely government information is included. (Short Term)
Recommendation 4: In like fashion, national industry organizations and educational institutions should also embark on an informational campaign to educate students, parents, educators, and public policy makers about the importance of the energy and mining industries to our economic and national security, the relevance of STEM education to jobs and careers in these industries, and the opportunities available in these industries—again including timely government information. (Short Term)
The nation cannot redesign its education programs and business–education partnerships to better provide a qualified energy and mining workforce without accurate data on occupations, jobs, and skill requirements.
Finding 6: Although the federal (and other) databases provide an abundance of information on the energy and mining workforce, such as employment estimates and demographic information, the data currently available for addressing the energy and mining workforce are not sufficiently consistent, comprehensive and up-to-date for these rapidly evolving, technology-infused industries and they do not exist at a sufficient degree of granularity.
Finding 7: To collect and analyze the data needed for effective energy and mining workforce decision- and policy- making, it is critical to foster the collaboration of government data-gathering agencies with industries that also gather workforce data.
Recommendation 5: The Department of Labor, through its Bureau of Labor Statistics, should determine and pursue a more effective way to partner with industry, through its national industry associations, to more quickly and accurately reflect the fast-paced change of job and occupation titles and characteristics, as well as the levels of education and training required in 21st century jobs.10 (Medium Term)
Recommendation 6: The Bureau of Labor Statistics should work with industry and the Departments of Education and Labor to better define the STEM technical workforce needed to support STEM professions in our economy so that appropriate and useful data can be identified, collected, and analyzed. (Medium Term)
The Federal Workforce
Federal employees have a critical role in, and impact on, the success of the U.S. energy and mining industries. They are involved in all aspects of the energy and extractive industries, from initial access (through the permitting process), through production and the regulation of those activities, to closure and restoration during the reclamation process. Federal employees link industry’s ability to produce energy and minerals with civil society’s concerns about these industries. However, the National Nuclear Security Administration reports that a majority of mission-critical employees are currently eligible or will be eligible for retirement in the next 4 years. MSHA projections show that 46 percent of their coal-sector workforce will be eligible to retire within 5 years, and they expect to lose 40 percent of their metal/nonmetal workforce in the same period.
Finding 8: Federal agencies involved in the energy and extractive industries are facing high retirement rates and there is an acute need to replace the departing federal workforce.
Finding 9: Because of the relatively restrictive personnel processes that federal agencies must follow and the relatively higher compensation offered by industry, it is difficult for federal agencies to hire and retain the employees they need.
Recommendation 7: All involved federal agencies should review and revise recruitment, training, and employment arrangements for federal employees directly involved in minerals and energy policy, permitting, and production oversight to ensure the agencies’ ability to attract and retain qualified federal
10 Chapter 8 contains a set of specific recommendations that are based on a detailed overview of the energy and mining workforce, using federal data sources, presented in Appendix B.
workers. Industries involved in energy production and resource extraction should develop collaborative efforts to partner with government at all levels to develop solutions to the problem of recruiting and retaining quality public-sector employees. (Medium Term)
THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS REPORT
Why are the study results important?
The United States has built and maintained a high standard of living and its role as a world leader, based largely on mastery of technology and innovation and firmly on access to energy and mineral resources. This access is needed for continued success. An educated and skilled workforce to drive these industries is essential, yet immediate corrective action is needed to ensure that this workforce will be available in sufficient numbers. As this report describes, the nation is facing large-scale retirement of experienced workers in industry, academia, and government. Also, these essential organizations currently are having difficulty finding enough qualified workers at all levels. Securing and replacing the needed expertise is at risk because of the low numbers of adequately prepared, prospective employees currently in the pipeline. As this report describes, the nation’s current educational system is not able to provide the needed STEM-trained workers in adequate numbers. Some innovative solutions are being pursued, but more effort is needed. If the nation fails to act now to prepare its workers, it places its continued access to essential energy and mineral resources at risk.