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The U.S. Smart Grid Revolution: Smart Grid Workforce Trends 2011

The future of smart grid continues to be very strong. Investment continues to flow into businesses active in the smart grid sector, driving innovation, job creation and significant change. Utilities are moving from the planning to the deployment stage of smart grid and budgets to support those efforts are on the rise. (Microsoft - Industry Survey 2011)

In the utilities sector, shifting requirements of existing jobs makes retraining efforts of the existing workforce a primary priority, particularly in those utilities that are in the process of deploying smart grid solutions. While new jobs are being created, this retraining effort to enable current employees within the utility smart grid workforce to adapt and take on new roles related to smart grid technology and processes is particularly active.

Utilities, contractors, suppliers, integrators, and manufacturers continue to take an active interest in the smart grid. Skill sets related to communications technology and software development and management will be particularly valuable for companies throughout the electric energy industry. Developing sufficient skill strength in the labor market to address this demand is critical.

Education and training for the existing and future smart grid workforce is of paramount concern and priority. It is vital to design retraining programs that speak directly to the training gaps of existing utility workers and to design engineering and technical curricula for future employees that resonate with the needs of the smart grid workforce, such as broad analytical skills, strong engineering fundamentals and strong business acumen. The success of organizational transitions within utilities relies upon successful retraining efforts for all companies in the electric energy industry to familiarize workers with smart grid technology and systems. The future success of the electric energy industry depends on the education of current students who will be the smart grid workforce.

This information was submitted by Jeremy Laundergan, Director, Utility Services Consulting, EnerNex, jlaundergan@enernex.com on 08/31/2011.

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