RD589 - Virginia Department of Education Report on House Bill 2008 and Senate Bill 1348 – November 21, 2019

Executive Summary:

The energy industry is the foundation for and a vital economic driver of Virginia's ability to grow and thrive. It provides gainful employment to many Virginians. Homes, businesses, and economic activity statewide rely on stable, reliable, and affordable energy systems, making it vital that educational programs provide the industry with capable employees and prepare the Commonwealth's workforce with the skills needed to succeed in energy-related jobs. With this in mind, the 2019 session of the Virginia General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 1348 (Appendix A) as follows:

"The Department of Education, in consultation with representatives from pertinent industries such as renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, and oil, shall establish as its seventeenth approved career cluster on energy career cluster. In developing the energy career cluster, the Department of Education shall base the knowledge and skill sets contained in such career cluster on the energy industry competency and credential models developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development in partnership with the U.S. Department of labor."

The creation of a 17th career cluster in energy will:

• promote development of needed skills for the energy workforce

• raise awareness to students of opportunities for careers in the energy industry

• elevate to schools, teachers, parents, and students the importance of an energy curriculum

• provide resources to grow programs and courses designed around energy.

Pursuant to Senate Bill 1348 {2019), the Virginia Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education conducted research on the Virginia energy sector and on national practices in energy career clusters, and convened deliberations among industry and educational expert working groups to develop a structure for the new energy career cluster in Virginia. This report results in action to establish a new career cluster with four pathways, and courses for each pathway, which will be available for statewide school division implementation by July 2020. This report presents research conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, as well as deliberations and decisions made in expert working panels on the structure and content of the cluster and pathways. Those participating in the design and content of the new cluster are identified in Appendix B.