Rush, Whitfield, Johnson Introduces the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014

Press Release

Date: April 30, 2014
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Ed. Whitfield (KY-01), and Bill Johnson (OH-06) introduced groundbreaking legislation that will create a pathway to employment for minorities and other historically underrepresented communities in the energy sector. It's no secret that the field of energy offers Americans tremendous new opportunities, and is changing the playing field internationally -- positioning the U.S. as the world leader in advanced energy technologies, energy production, and clean and renewable energy breakthroughs. The challenge is making sure that all Americans are aware of the opportunities in energy development, and ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to benefit from these exciting advances.

"Our booming energy sector has been one of the greatest American success stories in the last decade, and remains a bright spot in our economy as it continues to fuel job creation. To continue this success we need a 21st century energy workforce that is equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of our new energy landscape. This legislation will help prepare workers from across the country with diverse backgrounds to enter into an exciting and rewarding career in American energy," said Whitfield.

Some of the committee's Members top priorities have been to focus on increasing minority engagement in the lucrative energy sector as there is an undeniable lack of participation on the part of minorities who are engaged in the energy industry, in regards to employment, entrepreneurial and ownership opportunities. The 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014 will partner with both the Secretary of Education, or his designee, and the Secretary of Labor, or his designee, to stress a national priority in developing guidelines for educational institutions of all levels that would help develop the energy workforce for the future.

"In both public hearings before my subcommittee and in private meetings with some of the most influential leaders within the energy industry, I have been relentlessly stressing the importance of engaging minorities in all facets of the energy sector, including in the oil, gas, nuclear, renewable, and pipeline sectors," said Rush.

Additionally, this important legislation seeks to encourage and foster collaboration, mentorships, and partnerships between organizations that currently provide effective job training programs in the energy field. The 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014 is a prime example of how by working together for the betterment of our country, the federal government can effectively secure the United States future in energy.

"I'm excited to join Representatives Rush and Whitfield in introducing this important bipartisan legislation. The unique opportunities associated with the oil & gas development taking place underneath our feet across Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, and throughout the country, offer tremendous opportunities for the American people," Johnson said. "We must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the jobs associated with our energy development and production, and this legislation does that by creating a framework for effective job training programs. I'm hopeful the House will take up this common-sense legislation as soon as possible."