On Monday, Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training in the U.S. Department of Labor, is coming to Pittsburgh to talk with representatives of local governments, community colleges, labor unions and businesses about jobs in the energy sector.
Ms. Oates said Friday that she wants to find out what the federal government can do to help make sure there are workers ready to take those jobs.
Stefani Pashman, the chief executive officer of Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, has an answer: Send money.
But that money, Ms. Pashman said, can't come through regular government channels that are restricted by funding formulas. Instead, the region needs grant money that can be used to meet training needs as they arise for a variety of energy sectors.
Ms. Oates is having the meeting in Pittsburgh because there will be more jobs in the energy sector than just those involved directly in drilling for natural gas.
She said utility crews are a graying workforce who will be retiring and cannot be outsourced; the green energy sector will need workers who understand wind turbines and solar power generators; and the planned petrochemical "cracker' plant in Potter, Beaver County, could employ as many as 1,000 workers, which will also make that region a hub for the plastics industry that uses the byproducts of the process.
Ms. Oates' department recently announced a grant for $3 million for the Workforce Investment Board to train workers in the region in advanced manufacturing.
She said she is making this trip in advance of another round of grants.businessnews
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.