The data is staggering: At DTE Energy, about 35% of its workforce is eligible to retire over the next five years. Moreover, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity estimates energy jobs will grow by 6% through 2026.
The need to fill these all-important jobs within the energy industry is real, officials say. As a result, a partnership of industry leaders, educators, government officials and others have come together for the sixth annual Careers in Energy Week.
During Careers in Energy Week, Oct. 14-18, Michigan schools and energy companies will open their doors for tours, hands-on activities, demonstrations and other events. The week is sponsored by the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium (MEWDC), which includes DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, API, Great Lakes Energy, Michigan Electric and Gas Association (MEGA), Lansing Board of Water & Light, and more than 50 industry, workforce and education partners.
For the first time, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, issued a proclamation honoring October 14-18, 2019, as Careers in Energy Week in Michigan, as well.
Energy companies in the consortium have hired more than 3,200 new employees since January 2018 and annually offer students more than 900 internships and co-op positions. The MEWDC was founded in 2008.
Grow Into Energy
Campuses and businesses across the state will host events to bring attention to job openings and educational opportunities within the energy industry. For example, on Monday, DTE hosted more than 110 students to learn about energy careers in fields such as overhead, gas operations, underground and more.
The hands-on experience gives these students a chance to see the tools of the trade in action and experience the kind of high-tech working being done in the energy industry in Michigan, said Tracy DiSanto, co-chair of the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium and Senior Manager of Strategic Workforce Planning and Development for DTE.
For example, students at the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest in Royal Oak got to explore DTE’s Mobile Command Center, which showed students in real time how DTE handles storm events and other emergency situations. Seeing everything in action helps students imagine themselves in these jobs both as skilled workers and professional DTE roles, DiSanto said.
On Friday, more than 100 students from Detroit and River Rouge high schools will tour the Trombly Service Center and get a chance to visit the Mobile Command Center as well as learn about a variety of energy careers.
These high-demand jobs in the energy industry go beyond DTE into other fields, including construction, education and the like, DiSanto said. There will be more than 18 events around Michigan from Detroit to Grand Rapids to highlight the jobs and opportunities to grow in energy.
“This shows the power of partnership,” DiSanto said, and how the state’s consortium brings people from education, industry and government together to support this much-needed effort to get people into open jobs.