Landrieu Introduces Bill to Improve Energy Job Prospects for Women and Minorities

September 19, 2014

WASHINGTON -U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, today introduced the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Act of 2014 (S. 2907), a bill to expand energy-related job training and education opportunities for minorities and women. The bill, co-sponsored with Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., is a comprehensive program to encourage, prepare and provide underrepresented groups with the necessary skills to fill employment opportunities in related energy careers. 

A companion to H.R. 4526, the legislation will also provide direct assistance in the form of grants and partnerships; establish a resources database to maintain information on training for energy jobs; and encourage collaboration with education institutions and workforce development organizations.

“I am proud to introduce the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act; this important legislation is necessary to help engage, encourage and train underrepresented groups to become America’s next generation of energy leaders and innovators,” Sen. Landrieu said. “This legislation not only paves a way for thousands of Americans to secure high-paying energy jobs, but also ensures that the American workforce is well-trained to harness the potential of the American energy revolution.”

John A. Rosenthall, the Vice President of Research, Advancement, and Economic Development at Grambling State University said:

“Grambling State University has a priority interest in preparing our students and graduates for employment in all sectors, particular emerging sectors of the natural resources industry. The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to our economic wellbeing, contributing $73.9 billion to the Louisiana economy. In order for this institution to prepare our students and graduates to enter and prosper in this field, it is imperative that we form partnerships with business and industry. These partnerships will review and shape our curricula to ensure that we are preparing our students with the appropriate skill sets that this industry demands.”

Mr. Rosenthall continued, saying:

“These partnerships will provide intern and cooperative opportunities that expose our students to employers, and expose employers to our talented students. Louisiana’s oil production ranks 7th in the United States and 2nd in natural gas production. We must form the partnerships that open the doors for our students and graduates to become active employers and entrepreneurs in this industry. This bill provides incentives for government and industry to form the partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as Grambling State University that will facilitate the entry of minority students and graduates into the oil and gas industry.”

As an honorary ambassador of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy (MIE) Initiative, Sen. Landrieu serves to increase participation and awareness of women and minorities in the energy sector. The MIE Initiative serves to create a sustainable model that connects diverse stakeholders together to address challenges and opportunities for minority engagement in energy economic participation, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and climate change.

Previously, Sen. Landrieu has been a continued advocate for workforce development programs in the energy field:

  • Successfully Supported LA School TAACCT Grant Applicants: The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program funds innovative workforce development and training programs through the Department of Labor. In 2013, 3 Louisiana community colleges were awarded a total of $8.3 million in grants as part of a total of $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country.
  • Coordinated with TSA on TWIC Card Renewal Process:  In January 2014, Sen. Landrieu facilitated conference calls between industry stakeholders and TSA over the TWIC Card renewal process. As a result, TSA scheduled a site visit of their TWIC card renewal contractor’s offices in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and offered to review procedures to streamline the process.
  • Introduced the Landrieu “JOBS” Act: In February 2014, Sen. Landrieu introduced the Jumpstarting Our Businesses by supporting Students Act (the “JOBS Act”).  The Landrieu JOBS Act would amend the Higher Education Act to allow Pell Grant funding for students enrolled in short term jobs training programs (8 to 16 weeks) that lead to an industry-based certificate and ultimately, employment in the nearly 3.7 million vacant U.S. jobs.