High-Quality Early Learning Will Build the Energy Workforce of the Future
America’s energy sector can remain competitive if we invest in quality early education.
Our nation is not generating the STEM workforce we need for the energy sector
Jobs in the American energy sector are both plentiful and lucrative. However, despite the creation of millions of new jobs in recent years, there are not enough students with strong STEM skills to fill that need. In fact, about 55 percent of the sector’s workforce may need to be replaced in the next decade.
The key to closing this “skills gap” is quality early childhood education
Starting early is imperative. Disadvantaged children can start as much as 18 months behind their more-advantaged peers on the very first day of kindergarten. High-quality early childhood education, including early math and science instruction, helps lay the foundation for the STEM workforce that the energy sector desperately needs. Development of these skills at a young age help predict positive outcomes that can lead to academic and career success.
We need to start early to build the diverse, qualified talent that we will need. Students need a strong foundation in STEM as well as employability skills like problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork to be prepared for tomorrow’s workforce.
Ann Randazzo, Executive Director, Center for Energy Workforce Development