At a community college summit hosted in San Diego by the U.S. Department of Education on Friday, April 15, PG&E’s PowerPathway™ program was showcased as a model initiative for preparing American veterans for the new energy jobs of the future.
PG&E is one of five companies that partnered with the White House in 2010 to launch Skills for America’s Future, an initiative that connects employers with community colleges in an effort to lower unemployment and provide training in 21st century skills. As part of its commitment to Skills for America’s Future, PG&E has pledged $1.5 million of in-kind support over three years to California community colleges through PowerPathway™. Since it was established several years ago, PowerPathway™ has expanded to include four-year universities in new geographic areas, has added new job classifications, and now reaches out to military veterans. Already more than 100 military veterans who are transitioning into the energy sector have graduated from programs in the PowerPathway™ Training Network.
“Skills for America’s Future allows us to build on our proven community college partnerships,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, PG&E director of workforce development, at the San Diego summit. “We’re excited to provide California’s community colleges with the in-kind support they need to help prepare students, including our brave veterans when they return home, for the energy jobs of the 21st century.”
With PowerPathway™, PG&E seeks to create a larger and more diverse talent pool of candidates ready to begin careers in fields such as:
- Cleantech vehicles,
- Energy efficiency and renewables,
- Engineering and smart grid, and
- Skilled crafts.
Each partnership in the PowerPathway™ Training Network is different. At some education institutions, PG&E works with the faculty to develop curriculum or it provides teacher training; at others, PG&E provides technical assistance, donates equipment or contributes program funding.
Skills for America’s Future Chair and Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker recognized PG&E for its efforts to provide job training to veterans through PowerPathway™, as well as the efforts of Gap, Inc., another California-headquartered company among the five that helped launch Skills for America’s Future.
“Leading California companies like PG&E and Gap, Inc. are stepping up, partnering with community colleges around the state and preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Pritzker. “Partnerships between employers and community colleges are a win for students, a win for businesses and a win for our economy.”