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Workforce Readiness and Unconventional Energy

In June, a new report by High Road Strategies, LLC (HRS), conducted jointly with IHS Economics, a leading international business and economic analysis firm, was released, summarizing the findings of an independent assessment of the workforce readiness challenge confronting the unconventional energy (shale gas and tight oil) supply chain. With the surge in “unconventional” oil and gas production in the United States in recent years, a key concern of employers in this sector has been their difficulties finding qualified local workers with the requisite skills and the adequacy of state and local workforce education and training resources to meet this demand.

The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), a Washington, DC-based organization representing the unconventional oil and gas supply chain, commissioned the HRS-IHS team to examine this issue, the results of which are presented in the report, Supplying the Unconventional Revolution: Workforce Readiness. EEIA members include equipment manufacturers and distributors, construction contractors, service providers, material suppliers, logistics companies and labor unions. HRS principal Dr. Joel S. Yudken served as the lead project director, working jointly with IHS experts and staff to carry out this work.

Workforce Readiness is a companion piece to the 2014 IHS study, Sizing the Unconventional Revolution, also conducted for EEIA, which found that unconventional energy development is projected to grow steadily through the next decade, affecting dozens of industries beyond the oil and gas sector, distributed across suppliers from every state. Building on this work, the joint IHS-HRS project team undertook an extensive assessment of these sectors’ occupational structure, skill needs, and workforce education and training resources. Specifically, it identified the principal workforce readiness challenges confronting supply chain employers; the core occupations in the sector, and especially those in highest demand, nationally and in states with major plays; and, the public and private workforce education and training programs initiatives established to meet the occupational skill needs of the supply chain.

The project team applied quantitative and qualitative methods in this assessment, carried out for the nation and for three states with significant unconventional plays (Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana), two states at an early stage of unconventional development (Ohio, Colorado), and one nonproducing state with significant supply chain activity (Illinois). For more information about the study click here.

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