Black woman wearing glasses and a white lab coat inside a factory.

Education strategy and approach

The innovations across EPIXC’s five Key Application Areas (KAAs) will impact the manufacturing workforce, resulting in new job classifications and altering others. New training, skills, and safety protocols will be required to fill the ever-growing skilled-worker gap.

This need for new workers presents an opportunity to “build back better” and close the equity gap in the U.S.’s decarbonized economy’s future. For example, Hispanic/Latino workers have seen job gains in the clean energy sector, but these gains have been mainly in lower-wage energy occupations. Moreover, the Native American community has an overall unemployment rate of 8%, compared to the national unemployment rate of 3.9%. The manufacturing industry is currently 30% female, compared to the overall workforce in the U.S., which is 47% female. Similarly, Black workers currently account for 10% of the manufacturing workforce, compared to representation of 12% in the overall workforce.

Innovative education and workforce development approaches are needed to enable just energy transition outcomes. EPIXC EWD activities will engage 3,700 learners (40% from underrepresented groups) in education and/or training in preparation for equitable employment in manufacturing jobs supporting the decarbonized economy. To do so, EPIXC will:

  1. Engage community organizations to co-create culturally responsive and accessible technical education programs.
  2. Intentionally develop train-the trainer programs to increase cultural awareness and inclusiveness among educators, managers, and employers.
  3. Leverage our partners and community organizations to recruit diverse learners.

Working with the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), and through established localized workforce systems, EPIXC will scale up EWD activities by leveraging the Institute as a hub and spoke model to minimize worker displacement, create new learning opportunities, and attract future workers.

EPIXC Education and Workforce Development Team

Robin Hammond portrait

Robin Hamond

Arizona State University

Founding Director of the Fulton Schools of Engineering Career Center

Member of the Navajo Nation and adviser for the ASU American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Works with companies globally to build technical talent pipelines and engages in innovative practices to promote experiential-based hiring programs. 28 years of higher education experience in student and career development that accelerates the development of leadership, internship, co-op, entrepreneurship, and technical skills programs.

Vincent Torres profile picture,

Vince Torres

University of Texas at Austin

Associate Director at UT Austin Center for Energy & Environmental Resources

Research interests and expertise include energy and fluid systems design, analysis and project management. Other expertise includes measurement of emissions from industrial flares, indoor and outdoor air quality measurements and assessments, and development of specifications for remediation of microbial contamination especially identification of sources and control of indoor air pollution and its relationship to HVAC systems.