Ed. note: This is cross-posted from energy.gov
This past Wednesday, the Energy Department livestreamed a conversation between Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), two leaders and champions of renewable energy innovation. The topic at hand – the future of the U.S. wind industry – was driven by questions from a live audience and participants online using Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and email to ask Energy about wind technology, policy, and careers.
The last question of this important discussion asked how we can ensure that women and minorities are involved in wind energy jobs. As the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has reported, there is a large interest and achievement gap in many STEM jobs in United States, resulting in serious underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM.
Senator Mark Udall spoke about the need to invest in community college, land grant, and state University STEM programs, which are training students to be part of the future and current clean energy economy. “This is happening, this is our future,” Senator Mark Udall said. “It’s so important for America to invest in its people, its human capital.”
Secretary Steven Chu shared his vision for instilling the belief in all Americans that there are opportunities to make a livelihood in the wind industry. “Women and minorities should not only be encouraged to do this, this is taking full advantage of the human capital we have in the country … which is our biggest asset,” Secretary Chu said. This is why we must continue investment in the education of the future, training the next generation of wind industry employees, small business entrepreneurs, and innovators.
Listen to the full response from Senator Udall and Secretary Chu on all questions here, and check out some of the conversation on this topic online that took place during the event.
Dot Harris is Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy