State policies and programs can support energy employment and economic growth in a number of ways:
Market-oriented state energy policies, public-private partnerships, financing and incentive programs, innovation and incubation activities, and state energy planning with broad private sector stakeholder input can help attract and keep businesses (and jobs) in-state, and may speed the establishment of laws, programs and funding for broad-based energy priorities.
Compared to the overall national workforce, employment in the energy industry is substantially less diverse. State policies and initiatives can help increase the proportion of women, ethnic and racial minorities, and disadvantaged communities benefiting from the growth of high-quality, environmentally-friendly energy jobs, projects, and infrastructure.
Project quality is a top priority in the energy sector, where large and critical infrastructure projects (involving pipelines, transmission grid, and transportation corridors, as well as the upgrade of important community assets like schools, hospitals, manufacturing plants, shelters, businesses, and multifamily housing) are common. For this reason, many state energy officials may work with their governors and legislators to develop policies promoting quality installation, quality assurance, and workforce accreditation programs, which create a more highly skilled workforce able to apply their trade across industries and opportunities to increase their economic security and potential.
Energy markets are constantly evolving due to changing project economics and commodity prices, emerging technologies, new methods of extracting energy resources, and new resources. Market shifts can displace workers for long periods of time. Effective energy policy can help mitigate these effects by identifying new job opportunities and/or working with the private sector and local educational institutions to provide training and skills enhancement that support continued or new employment for energy workers at every level.