Thursday, February 22, 2018
Business

U.S. mining, energy sectors face workforce shortage

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The United States isn't producing enough qualified workers to meet the future needs of the mining and energy sectors, from coal digging and gas drilling to solar and wind power, a new report says.

The report released Thursday by the National Research Council urges new partnerships to tackle the problem of retiring baby boomers who cannot readily be replaced. That includes a retooling of higher education to produce more young people competent in science, technology, engineering and math.

The report predicts a "bright present and future" for energy and mining jobs, with continuing demand for workers and good pay for those who are hired. But it says some industries already face labor shortages and others soon will because the nation's colleges and universities aren't cranking out graduates with the skills that growing companies need.

Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration data, for example, show 46 percent of the workforce will be eligible to retire within five years, but there are too few younger workers in the pipeline to replace them.

The oil and gas industry, meanwhile, has a workforce that's currently concentrated at both the older and younger ends of the spectrum, the report says, "creating a gap in experience and maturity" in between and making it difficult to replace retiring leadership.

The report recommends several wide-ranging solutions, including outreach efforts to improve both the public's understanding and perception of energy-producing industries such as oil and gas.

Negative perception driven by concern over pollution, environmental damage and health issues, it notes, "dissuades some from pursuing careers."

It also notes that universities are seeing a faculty shortage that could affect oil and gas, mining and geothermal employers.

"Unless this is corrected," the report says, "the nation risks losing its capacity to provide new science and engineering professionals for the workforce."

The independent, nonprofit National Research Council is the main operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences. The nearly 400-page document was authored by 14 experts from universities, government and the private sector.

It warns the higher education community that the traditional routes to degrees "do not adequately align" with industries' needs and notes "they are increasingly not affordable and accessible" for prospective students.

Community colleges are proving to be the best vehicle for delivering the technician-level, skills-based education the energy and mining industries need, the report says, offering programs ranging from one-year certifications to two-year associate's degrees.

Schools and employers should form more partnerships like those, the report said, and federal agencies should consider more research funding to schools to help drive technological innovation and develop faculty.

Comments
Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

TAMPA –– Hillsborough County commissioners voted Wednesday to ask embattled jobs center leader Ed Peachey to either resign or face termination over concerns the agency inflated job placement numbers with the state. Chairwoman Sandy Murman said commis...
Updated: 4 hours ago
CareerSource jobs chief Edward Peachey could soon be out of work

CareerSource jobs chief Edward Peachey could soon be out of work

CLEARWATER — The heads of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards will hold emergency meetings in the coming days to consider firing president and CEO Edward Peachey. Jack Geller, board chairman of CareerSource Pinellas, and Dick Peck, chairman of ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete's World Liquors sign will live on at new home

St. Pete's World Liquors sign will live on at new home

A local landmark for a half century isn't coming down for good.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

TAMPA — A second activist investor is calling for a big shake-up at Bloomin’ Brands Inc. In a letter to Bloomin’s CEO, Barington Capital Group, a New York-based investment firm, urged the Tampa-based restaurant conglomerate to let ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Uber unrolls new pool service that could drastically cut fare

A new way to Uber is coming to Florida, but the "Express Pool" feature is only rolling out in Miami and seven of other cities to start.That means Tampa Bay will have to wait and see if it will get access to Uber’s latest offering, which links riders ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

A reigning champion for sand and sunshine, Tampa Bay is once again home to what’s been deemed the best beach in the country. Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the U.S. for 2018 by the popular travel site TripAdvisor reclaiming the crown tw...
Updated: 11 hours ago
This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

FIELD OF GREEN: COLLARD FESTOn Saturday you can devote your whole day to the beauty of collard greens. Well, that’s the jumping off point. Collards are the "central ingredient" at the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival at St. Petersburg’s Historic Deuc...
Published: 02/21/18
Tampa Bay homes prices soar by double-digits in January

Tampa Bay homes prices soar by double-digits in January

Home prices soared in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in January, the highest gains in several months. Prices for single family homes also rose in Hernando and Pasco as the shortage of available homes showed no immediate sign of easing. The bay a...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Q: My manager has recently started eating nuts at her desk, which is located right next to mine. Unfortunately, I have a serious nut allergy, so any contact with them could produce a life-threatening reaction. Even foods which contain tiny pieces of ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Published: 02/20/18