PG&E Is Helping Develop Skilled Labor for the Energy Sector

March 5, 2017
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PG&E, a founding member of the Ready to Work Business Collaborative, is dedicated to the training and development of the next generation of utility workers. The company’s PowerPathway program is a major part of its efforts to recruit and develop skilled, diverse and qualified talent.

In the program’s eight-year history, more than 700 people — half of them military veterans — have been trained in energy sector trades. Of those, 76 percent have been hired by PG&E itself or by others affiliates in the energy industry.

To provide the training and candidates for the PowerPathway program, PG&E collaborates with local community colleges and workforce intermediaries that recruit and train individuals with a high school diploma and basic skills. The program often brings job training and career opportunities to communities with high unemployment and fosters long-term relationships between PG&E, the communities it serves, and its training partners.

Graduates are eligible for credits toward a degree because of PowerPathway’s partnership with local colleges. Every trainee is assigned a career case manager who works with them for up to three years, even if they are not hired by PG&E. Benefits of the program include career counseling, mentorship, referrals and resume help.

In addition to its PowerPathway program, PG&E has a robust national college recruiting program that provides 18-month rotational exposure to new hires. Participants experience six months in each of PG&E’s three lines of business: gas, electric, and IT. New hires in the rotational program have a high retention rate of 97 percent, compared to those hired through traditional means. These employees are eligible to take PG&E-approved online accredited certificate courses through Stanford University that are transferrable into a master’s degree.

PG&E is creating a pipeline of future employees for every level and line of its business, and helping its sector and reducing unemployment and creating growth opportunities.

At the high school level, PG&E offers summer internship programs so students can learn critical thinking and “soft” job skills, such as interpersonal skills and how to succeed in interviews. PG&E also supports the Arc of San Francisco, providing internships and training for individuals with developmental disabilities. Additionally, PG&E’s Better Together STEM Scholarship Program has awarded more than $3 million since 2012 to accomplished students based on a combined demonstration of community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement.

The bottom line: PG&E is creating a pipeline of future employees for every level and line of its business. And by doing so, it’s helping its sector and reducing unemployment and creating growth opportunities.

The pipeline of opportunity is not all that PG&E does for the communities it serves. The company also encourages its employees to volunteer where needed. That program, too, has been noticed for its accomplishments. In fact, its leader Ananda Baron, has been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as a “40 Under 40” to watch.