Policy Bank

In our search to find the best-fit policies for our target states, we came across dozens of national and global best practice policies, innovative ideas, and program models. This policy bank aggregates many of those strategies for public access so stakeholders can learn more about the ways that citizens, businesses, and law makers can help to foster good-paying jobs in the advanced energy economy. 

Right now, you're looking at 15 policies related to all states, all technologies and Workforce Development. Clear all filters

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Many states suffer from “brain drain” of STEM graduates to out-of-state jobs. To address this barrier, STEM-educated students could be incentivized to remain in the state following graduation. For example, the Opportunity Maine program provides annual lump-sum tax credits to students who graduate from a Maine college and go on to live and work in the state. Individuals qualify if they maintained Maine residency while attending an accredited state higher education institution, obtained an associate’s or bachelor’s degree on or after January 1, 2008, and worked for an in-state employer after... (learn more)
Employers in some states are having difficulty finding qualified workers to fill open positions. Employers report that job candidates lack the required work experience and technical skills. A state could address the skills gaps in the targeted advanced energy sector by expanding public-private training partnerships. State counties could establish or expand public-private partnerships in the targeted sector as a mechanism for improving vocational training. This concept is not novel or untested; in 2011, Siemens—a medical technology and gas turbine manufacturer—moved into North Carolina and partnered with University of North Carolina and Central Piedmont... (learn more)
In order for a state’s advanced energy economy to thrive, the state will need workers with advanced energy and energy engineering skills beyond a basic knowledge of STEM concepts. Currently, the higher education systems of some states lack an energy-related college major. Additionally, professional degree programs do not offer courses focused on energy. A state should encourage its higher education institutions to consider establishing interdisciplinary energy engineering degree programs. New energy majors could draw heavily from existing courses, faculty, and industry relationships, minimizing startup costs. Universities that already have a strong... (learn more)
Advanced composite manufacturing is an industry with high projected growth that pays middle-class wages. However, advanced composite manufacturers are more likely to locate their facilities in regions with highly skilled workers. Workers in regions that suffer from high unemployment rates and low wage levels would benefit greatly from the creation of new advanced composite manufacturing plants. Assuming demand for advanced composite skills will exist, offering composites training courses in high school could make students employable in composites manufacturing upon graduation. An example of how to incorporate training into high schools can... (learn more)
In states with a low population growth rate and a high rate of retiring citizens, there may be a need for targeted workforce incentives to fill gaps in key industry clusters, as well as a need for a dynamic and technically-skilled workforce. Policy makers can help clear pathways for young workers to pursue careers in advanced energy and fill these gaps. To accomplish this goal, a state could create curricula enhancements for advanced energies in the main credentialed programs in universities, apprenticeship programs, and community colleges. Some states have taken the initiative to provide energy education... (learn more)
Offshore wind turbine installation and maintenance requires challenging new skillsets. Workers must know how to safely weld or repair turbines, all while strapped into a harness hundreds of feet in the air. In addition to the challenges of working at the height of an 18-story tall building, workers must be prepared for heavy winds, rain, and large, moving equipment. Therefore, a training facility with lifelike replicas of towers is essential to prepare workers for a variety of situations and minimize risks. In Europe, project developers rely on third party firms to... (learn more)
The offshore wind industry is expected to grow and some states may experience offshore wind workforce development gaps. Welding, in particular, is a skill that must be refined for offshore wind because as wind turbines become larger, welders need to be more precise with measurements. For example, while a shipyard fabricates to the centimeter, welders of wind turbines fabricate to the millimeter. A large portion of welders in the U.S. are not certified for those tighter welding tolerances. A mobile training facility could bring expensive equipment to sites along the... (learn more)
There is increasing demand in the high performance buildings industry for a workforce that incorporates a new set of advanced skills into the necessary traditional skill set. To address this knowledge gap, a state could look to its universities and technical colleges to provide certificate programs in energy efficiency and high performance building assessment. While various community colleges within a state may already offer relevant degree and certificate programs, a state could establish a specialized degree program at several community colleges that specifically focuses on high performance building construction. California community... (learn more)
Many states boast a strong base of manufacturing firms that positively impact the state’s economy and contribute to national and global energy efficiency markets. To enhance the growth of advanced energy technology manufacturing within the state, state leaders could facilitate public-private partnerships that expand competition and innovation capacity of small and medium-sized manufacturers. This can be accomplished by promoting advances in manufacturing technology and the corresponding workforce trainings to ensure that workers can keep up with skill demand. High-performance computing technology and new modeling simulation and analysis can build competitive... (learn more)
To gain an advanced manufacturing job, many Americans will need to upgrade their skills. Most workers cannot afford to quit their current jobs to go back to school full-time. Instead, part-time programs are needed, so that workers can build upon their current skills while still bringing home a paycheck. Existing programs, such as an associates degree in advanced manufacturing engineering technology, take years to complete on a part-time schedule. Programs could be modeled after Tennessee’s successful part-time training program.   Oak Ridge Associated Universities offers a one-year, 25-hour-per-week Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development... (learn more)
Jobs in advanced energy require highly-skilled employees or specialized training. Individuals seeking employment and firms in need of trained workers must therefore pay to improve skill sets. Investing personal or company funds for workforce development can be a barrier to upgrading skills. However, a state could turn this barrier into an opportunity by incentivizing investment in solar and wind workforce development through specialized tax credits for employing and training qualified workers. A state could look to Oklahoma’s successful Aerospace Engineer Workforce Tax Credit as a potential model for establishing an advanced... (learn more)
Stackable credentials are an organized sequence of certificates that can be accumulated over time to strengthen individual qualifications and to advance along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and higher-paying jobs. This sequence has shorter-term skill development blocks which allow students to exit and enter while still having gained marketable skills, which reduces educational and employment barriers for non-traditional and disadvantaged students. These certificates should also be portable, or independently verified and accredited, so student credentials are upheld by employers and educational institutions across the nation... (learn more)
A large hurdle in matching residents with jobs in advanced energy is a lack of prior experience and skills. This problem could be solved by creating more apprenticeships and certification programs that are tailored to the needs of companies within each region. State leaders could achieve this by leveraging the state’s technical college system and private-sector partnerships.South Carolina’s Apprenticeship Carolina™ system offers a simple model for improving apprenticeship opportunities statewide. The state’s successful Apprenticeship Carolina™ system offers employers a modest $1,000 state tax credit per apprentice per year. Additionally, the... (learn more)
By 2020, two out of three American jobs will require a college credential, many of them in STEM fields. To meet the demand for skilled labor, America will need the majority of high school students to graduate on time, enter college, and earn an associate's degree within three years or a bachelor's degree within six years. Unfortunately, only one in five students meet that goal today.Early colleges are an innovative way to engage students in the classroom and better prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century. Through partnerships... (learn more)
In 2014, the U.S. veteran population was at 21.8 million. Nationally, 42 percent of former military personnel engaged in medium-skill maintenance, machinery, and electrical technician work during their service. Despite the demand for skilled workers in many states and the strong qualifications of many returning veterans—including technical skills, organizational abilities, and professional maturity—the unemployment rate for veterans was at 9.7% in 2012. In 2013, 35 percent of unemployed veterans were between the age of 25 to 44, an ideal working age. This presents the nation with a significant opportunity to... (learn more)