Workforce Development Summit 2021

Full Program Details

November 16-18, 2021

The annual Workforce Development Summit is the pinnacle of CEWD’s learning experiences. It brings the industry’s “who’s who” together for strategic dialogues, insight into best practices within the industry and beyond, trend analysis and future-scaping, and the most comprehensive networking that exists in the energy sector’s workforce development arena. Sessions are designed to turn ideas into action for those attending and for the whole industry.

Tuesday, November 16

Session times are in Eastern Standard Time


Pre-Conference Workshop: Unlock CEWD’s Resources, Toolkits, and Templates

CEWD has dozens and dozens of resources to support the needs of workforce development professionals. From DE&I templates to guidance on how to recruit low-income students into the industry to examples of summer energy camps or energy-focused curriculum and veterans’ recruitment strategies – there are assets that take the guess work out of key business priorities and prevent companies from reinventing the wheel or starting with a blank sheet of paper. This session will provide an overview of how to make use of all the CEWD’s resources. This pre-Summit program will be especially beneficial for companies new to CEWD, employees new to their companies, and companies unfamiliar with the array of resources available.


Opening General Session: How the Energy Industry Can Win the Talent War

This insightful session will set the stage for the Summit as we explore how the energy industry can win the war for talent in today’s competitive talent acquisition environment. The program will kick off with Jane Oates, President of Working Nation and former U.S. Department of Labor official, who has played a key role in raising awareness about the challenges facing the American workforce, and Brent Parton, the Senior Advisor within the DOL sharing perspectives on the “secret sauce” of what industries and companies need to do to attract the best and brightest to propel business forward.

Following the presentation, program participants will engage in virtual round table discussions on innovative programs and industry best practices in attracting employees. From signing bonuses for lineworkers and gas technicians to attracting diverse candidates for skilled trade positions to opportunities afforded by greater acceptance of remote work, to altered messaging about industry careers, Summit attendees will identify pioneering approaches to address industry hiring challenges.


General Session: What Can We Learn from the Gaps in the Energy Workforce Report?

CEWD will release its 2021 Gaps in the Energy Workforce Report in the fall. What will it tell us about today’s workforce and the demand for future employees? How has the pandemic impacted the industry’s workforce and employment needs? What data points have changed since 2019? What do some of the key metrics tell us about the makeup of our workforce and challenges ahead? Join us for this session to explore what this year’s survey reveals about the industry’s employees and the needs of the future and to talk about what the results mean for the industry.


Critical Conversations: Facilitated Working Sessions

This block of time will be dedicated to two of the “big conversations” that will influence the future of work in the energy sector. Consistent with the Summit’s commitment to interactive and engaging dialogue, this forward-focused programming will be participatory and outcome oriented. We will cover:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roadmap for Change Listening Session (2:30-3:30)
    This highly interactive session, facilitated by DiversityInc, will invite participants to share where they are challenged the most with diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce, and how the industry can unite together to develop a cohesive roadmap for DE&I Change. This session is part of a multi-year initiative being undertaken by CEWD, AGA, APGA, DCA, EEI, NEI, and NRECA. There is no charge for attendees wishing to attend only this session, as long as they are members of one of the referenced organizations, but pre-registration is required.
  • Decarbonization and the Future of the Energy Workforce (3:45-5:15)
    This first of its kind session will bring the industry together to talk about decarbonization and what it means for the energy workforce. While conversations are taking place in energy companies, in Congress, with agencies and within the Administration on the policy and operational objectives, the impact of decarbonization goals is just beginning to be discussed in correlation with what’s ahead from a workforce development perspective. Thought leaders are exploring what questions must be probed, what considerations need to be made, who needs to be at the table for such deliberations, and what actions need to be taken. Leaders from Deloitte’s Utilities and Renewable Practice will share findings from their research on Decarbonization and the Future of the Energy Workforce. They will then lead attendees through table-topic discussions to identify the big discussions and priority issues that should be addressed for energy companies and the industry as a whole to ensure we are poised for what lies ahead.

Wednesday, November 17

Session times are in Eastern Standard Time


Early Risers Networking Forum

  • Expanding Diversity in Skilled Trades
  • DE&I Track: How are You Connecting with Community Based Organizations?
  • New Approaches to Military Recruiting
  • Preparing for Knowledge Transfer in the Age of Newly Expected Retirements


Breakout Sessions

  • Training Track: The Results are In…Top Level Take-Aways from Exclusive Energy Training Survey
    This session will explore the results of CEWD’s new Corporate Training Survey, a first-of-its-kind look at training and development data exclusive to the energy sector. Offering insights into metrics such as student to instructor ratios, training progression time, curriculum design, training facilities, etc., the findings will offer foundational perspective as the industry works to develop employees in increasingly dynamic and technical industry careers.
  • DE&I Track: What the #1 Ranked Utility for Diversity Has Done to Earn that Distinction
    In April of this year, Forbes named Consumers Energy the #1 Utility Company for Workplace Diversity, following recognition the year prior for Consumers as the #1 Energy Workplace for Women. Learn what the company is doing to receive such acclaim in the DE&I space for two consecutive years and how they have embedded DE&I into all aspects of its workplace culture, encouraging discussions and efforts to build understanding among its 8,500 employees.
  • Community Programs Track: Goodwill of Greater Washington’s New Energy & Construction Career Training Program
    This session will be the first of many programs we will explore that is seeing results in effective partnerships with community-based organizations to fuel talent pipelines. Learn from representatives of Washington Gas and Goodwill of Greater Washington about the recently launched Energy & Construction Career Training Program. The partnership establishes a three-year workforce development program that will provide comprehensive curriculum, hands-on training and specialized workshops to prepare individuals for energy, construction and utility job opportunities in the D.C. area, addressing critical shortages across the region.
  • Business of Workforce Development: Building Reliable Workforce Forecasts
    This session, led by Gartner, will explore best practices and key insights in the science (or art?) of workforce planning for the future by looking at some of the industries that do it best: manufacturing, retail, and financial services. The program will address the business necessity of workforce planning, the necessity of key analytics, and more. Gartner will be joined by those charged with workforce planning within their energy companies. Attendees will be encouraged to share their challenges in this space and seek guidance from the program’s presenters and industry peers.


Breakout Sessions

  • Training Track: The New Age of Pre-Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships in the Energy Workforce
    Apprenticeships have been around for many years but there has been a recent resurgence of focus and interest in these training programs. This session will unite industry training leaders to explore apprenticeships – from pre-apprenticeship programs, to spurring engagement, to new apprenticeship programs companies are considering and have in the pipeline, to new support from DOL for those considering registered apprenticeship programs. Session attendees will be asked to share data points on their apprenticeship offerings and consider opportunities for training collaboration.
  • DE&I Track: PSEG’s Leadership Development Program for Diverse Employees
    PSEG developed an innovative program to support the career development of diverse employees with high potential that has delivered strong results. This session will address the parameters of the program, training and exposure curriculum, candidate identification, and lessons learned.
  • Community Programs Track: Innovation in Increasing Diversity in Skilled Trade Positions
    CEWD is often asked about innovative programs we have seen to recruit more diverse talent into skilled trade positions. We have assembled a trio of presenters who are doing some outstanding work in this area. Alabama Power will talk about their recent collaboration with three community colleges that resulted in the graduation of 39 lineworkers, representing varied backgrounds. We will then hear from other utilities that are working with newly created cohorts and through community based organizations to welcome a more diverse team of individuals into their companies.
  • Business of Workforce Development Track: The Business Case for Hiring Reservists
    Many energy companies have aggressive plans and goals for hiring veterans. But what about those who are on active duty status, through the Reserves? Many companies easily dismiss men and women in the Reserves because they are concerned about conflicting responsibilities and time demands, thereby missing out on drawing from an incredible talent pool. Centuri has found great success in hiring reservists and they are eager to share their learnings with hopes others can take confidence in welcoming talent from the reservists’ community.


Lunch and Learn: Building a Future-Ready Workforce

Industries with future-ready workers build future-ready solutions. But this is not just true for workers in emerging, disruptive fields such as data science or cybersecurity. Many key, future-ready skills are now prevalent for middle-skill workers, where disruptive competencies reside in the humbler world of digital literacy: such as mastery of spreadsheets, programs for running computerized drill presses, or basic data literacy. All industries compete for workers with these high-value skills, and these skills are constantly evolving in response to new innovations. Therefore, energy companies must anticipate the disruptive skills for every role in the industry and invest in building these competencies years before they become the market norm. How does the energy industry prepare for workers with these skills and be armed to attract and retain them? This session, presented by Will Markow, VP of Applied Research at Emsi Burning Glass, will provide an overview of the findings from Emsi Burning Glass’s research on disruptive skills and share actions that can be taken by the industry as a whole – as well as individual companies – to build a future-ready workforce. Participants will also be asked to share what their companies are doing to win this war for talent.


Breakout Sessions

  • Training Track: Modernizing Industry Training: Mid-American’s Journey 
    The industry’s education and training leaders are exploring ways to modernize job training and expedite work-readiness. This session will demonstrate how Mid-American Energy modernized its training with the addition of interactive Ebooks and the addition of Augmented Reality to their educational offerings. They and their partners at Index AR Solutions will address curriculum design, costs, business partnerships, time to development, and team member response.
  • Using the Expanded MOS Translator to Hire Veterans
    Helping veterans translate their unique skills and training into rewarding careers in the energy industry has been a longtime mission of CEWD. With the energy industry continuously evolving, CEWD partnered with Veterans in Energy to open the door to more energy jobs for veterans. A team of veterans from all branches of the military worked on updating and expanding CEWD’s Military Occupational Specialty Translator. The MOS Translator is not only designed to assist veterans in building resumes and determining which energy jobs best align with their military careers and education, but is also a valuable tool for recruiters and hiring managers. Learn about the new additions and how they can help your recruitment efforts.
  • DE&I Track: Lessons Learned from the Campus Energy Network
    CEWD and the National Utilities Diversity Council worked with energy companies and other partners including AABE and SHPE to manage a series of mentoring programs at minority-serving organizations around the country. This session will bring program leaders and mentors together to review how the programs worked, lessons learned, sharable materials that were developed for the program, and more. Participants will be offered a playbook that can be used to replicate aspects of the program in their own communities.
  • Community Programs Track: Best Practice Sharing from Effective Community Based Organizations
    Community Based Organizations, particularly those representing diverse groups of people are contacted regularly for collaboration and partnership opportunities. What programs do national leaders such as the Urban League and Veterans organizations, and others see as effective programs to emulate or learn from? This session will include leaders from these various organizations addressing effective partnerships with various sectors and businesses and advice they would offer energy companies in developing their own partnerships at the local level.
  • Business of Workforce Development: Uniting Together in Messaging About Industry Careers
    Is your company using TikTok or Spotify to connect with future employees? Maybe you are old school with Snapchat or Instagram? How are you showcasing your company’s commitment to what interests job seekers most – things like environmental stewardship, social justice, meaningful work, etc.? Does your workforce messaging represent an industry you’d like to be part of? With the country-wide talent shortage, industries and businesses are getting creative in how they promote themselves and how they sizzle before potential employees. This session will look at some of the creative ways energy companies – and businesses in other sectors – are standing out in the sea of recruitment competition.

3:30- 4:20pm

Breakout Sessions

  • DE&I Track: Attracting and Welcoming Neuro-Diversity in Energy Careers
    This session will build on conversations CEWD has presented over the last several months on what it means to work with those with autism and other individuals on the spectrum. What is the business case for ushering in those with neuro-diverse talents? What considerations should be made available for interviews, relationships with co-workers, and job responsibilities? What have companies found who have hired people with autism and what recommendations would they offer? How do you tap into this unique talent market? All of these questions and more will be answered!
  • Community Programs Track: Creative Youth Engagement Programs
    As employers look to expand their connections with students, engagement opportunities are getting increasingly creative. This session will look at some novel and innovative ways employers are putting their best foot forward to attract workers of the future. We will learn about FPL’s STEM Girl’s Summer Camp, Georgia Power’s High School Internship program and NYPA’s STEM program.
  • Business of Workforce Development Track: Unpacking the Gaps in the Energy Workforce Report
    This session is for those who want to take a deep dive into the results of the Gaps in the Energy Workforce Report and its implications for business. We will engage in group discussions on the findings and implications and bridge into dialogues the results mean for workforce planning, knowledge transfer, and workforce retention.


General Session: The Secret Sauce of Talent Recruiting

This session brings together organizations and industries that are taking big leaps in leadership in talent acquisition. We will hear from representatives from Skills USA, the American School Counselors Association and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association talking about how to stand out to students (and their influencers) and what programs should be in every company’s workforce development toolkit.

Thursday, November 18

Session times are in Eastern Standard Time


CEWD Impact Awards and CEWD Update

This session will focus inward – we will celebrate excellence in our industry through the presentation of CEWD’s second annual Impact Awards, to individuals, companies, and consortia leading the industry’s efforts to ensure a skilled, diverse talent pipeline. CEWD’s Chairman, John Bruckner, and the organization’s Executive Director, Missy Henriksen, will provide a brief overview of the organization’s newest initiatives.


What You Need to Know About the New Jobs Act

Potential investments into infrastructure under the Biden Administration are poised to have a lasting impact on utilities, the utility industry workforce, and the larger clean energy transition. These investments could create 1.4M new utility industry jobs, with significant growth in areas such as grid modernization, grid hardening and resilience, cybersecurity, and electric transportation infrastructure, among other. As legislation to enable these investments continues to make its way through Capitol Hill, utilities leaders should be taking steps now to position their organizations for success in accessing the funding – including by taking proactive steps to understand the potential talent and workforce implications. During this session, guided by Accenture, you will receive a crash course on the proposed infrastructure investments, learn more about the potential impacts for utilities, and hear about ways to start preparing from a talent and workforce perspective.


In the Year 2035, the Energy Workforce…

Let’s fast forward 14 years and consider what the energy workforce will look like, so that we can begin preparing our organizations now for that talent of tomorrow. This session will bring several CEWD leaders together to offer a glimpse into what their organizations are contemplating now in preparation for what lies ahead. Attendees will be asked to provide their perspectives as well so the industry can benefit from a shared crystal ball.


General Session: 5 Questions About Inclusion That Stop Leaders in Their Tracks

All too often, leaders keep their heads down when it comes to conversations about diversity equity and inclusion going issues related to these topics at work pass them by so they don’t have to address them. Why? Because no one wants to be labeled as ignorant or worse, as sexist, racist or homophobic at work, especially leaders. The truth is inclusion and equality are the latest and therefore some of the least defined leadership competencies leaders worldwide need to practice. Learning how to talk about “touch” subjects involving DE&I begins by having the courage to examine and understand our own mindsets and gaps in knowledge. This interactive session by WMFDP/FDP Global will look at and address the five questions about inclusion that stop leaders in their tracks and keeps them in a crouched position.


ERG Community Building and Networking

This unique session invites ERG leaders from across the country to meet and learn from one another. Breakout sessions will bring those with common interests together to share what’s going on within ERGs – from starting a group to building interest to adjusting areas of focus, leaders that manage employee resource groups in the following areas will walk away with renewed purpose and ideas to consider for adoption: Women, Pride, Veterans, Latinx, Asian-American, and African-American.

Preliminary program. Schedule subject to change.


  • Training Track
  • DE&I Track
  • Community Programs Track
  • Business of Workforce Development