Green Pushes for More Opportunities for Minorities in Energy Sector
(Washington, D.C.) - On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power hosted a hearing on H.R. 4526, the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and cosponsored by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and nine others, would create pathways to opportunities for minorities in the energy sector.
A recent study conducted by the American Petroleum Institute projects that the oil and natural gas industry will create over 800,000 jobs in the Gulf region by 2030. While the industry continues to grow, minorities—Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans—remain underrepresented making up only 9% of the current U.S. workforce in science and engineering fields. This bill would create more opportunities for education and training for minorities seeking energy jobs.
“We’re really excited about this legislation. The creation of more training programs will build the workforce we need to meet the expansion of our booming energy industry,” Green said. “In Texas, we’ve been experiencing a shortage of workers in the energy sector for years. Thanks to the development of the Eagleford shale and the Permian Basin, we could recruit every journeyman electrician in the country, we would still have a shortage. We want our local constituency, those that live by these plants, to have the training to take these high paying jobs.”
H.R. 4526 would create a new program directed by the Secretary of Energy that would foster direct assistance and partnerships with community colleges, minority serving institutions, workforce development organizations, as well as collaboration with the Secretaries of Labor and Education, and industry leaders.
“The shortages in our area have already inspired a public-private partnership that we hope can serve as a model nationwide. The Community College PetroChemical Initiative (CCPI) includes nine community colleges, including San Jacinto College in my district that serves a student population that is over 46% Hispanic and over 56% female. We need to expand successes like CCPI across the nation.” Green said.