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US energy sector staring at skills shortage

23 August 2005 – According to figures from the US federal Bureau of Labour Statistics, the country’s energy industry will face a personnel shortage of around 10 000 by 2012, even with the expected sector consolidation.

The skills shortage will be heightened by industry expansion expected after the introduction of the Energy Policy Act, recently signed in to law by President Bush.

A 15-member task force has been created in Colorado to search for solutions to the looming problem.

Don Hurd, head of the task force and president and CEO of E3 Consulting, said: “The shortage we are forecasting in manpower throughout the industry in the next ten years is a wide open door for young people who want to make their mark in one of the many worthwhile professions in the energy sector.”

Since May, Hurd’s task force has been examining ways to develop college faculty and curriculum that will provide trained managers and technicians to meet future staff shortages.

Dr. Frank Barnes, professor of Engineering at the University of Colorado, said that because it will take five years before graduates begin entering the power sector workforce, steps must be taken immediately to begin curriculum development.

Barnes said that the US graduates ten times fewer engineers than both China and India.