Are you considering pursuing a job in the energy industry? This Energy Workforce Development Hub is your one-stop-shop for information on various energy workforce opportunities for those seeking employment and entrepreneurs.

Pueblo County’s history and identity is steeped in the railroad and steel industries, which are responsible for the community’s vigorous work ethic and diverse cultural heritage. Today, Pueblo is a hub of industry and arts, serving as the commercial center of Southern Colorado and as a gateway to the Southwest.

Pueblo County’s goals and energy industry presence present a unique opportunity for the energy workforce as we transition to a just and equitable clean energy future.

There are many opportunities in the energy industry, ranging from installation and maintenance of equipment to energy planning to management. This diversity applies to types of energy as well. The energy industry is broad, and includes renewables, oil and gas, utilities, batteries, and even energy efficiency. Not sure where to start? Be sure to check out these excellent resources:

  • My Colorado Journey offers resources on finding energy careers in Colorado, including what different pathways may look like. You can explore jobs in different energy industries and at different levels of experience, including average annual salaries and knowledge or training required.
  • CDLE Energy Careers webpage contains a collection of resources for energy careers, curated by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
  • The Pueblo Workforce Center is committed to supporting the energy workforce through connections to job training, scholarships, and other opportunities.

Below are two broad categories of the energy workforce that Pueblo County is working to strengthen.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is increasingly important as individuals, businesses, and governments are setting energy reduction and renewable energy targets. Energy efficiency also has a real impact on costs for everyone. This means that there is a plethora of sectors in need of workers knowledgeable in energy efficiency, including:

  • Buildings: Buildings are large consumers of energy, and whether it is new construction or building upgrades, individuals who are knowledgeable in efficient design, energy-conserving building materials, and building management are needed to improve efficiency. Two well-known organizations in this space include the US Green Building Council and ENERGYSTAR®.
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Equipment: Businesses and homes need individuals who are able to assess what equipment can accomplish their needs or improving the efficiency of current equipment. This can include auditing existing equipment to find opportunities for efficiency, maintaining existing equipment, or installing or designing new equipment.
  • Lighting Equipment: Likewise, lighting can have a significant impact on energy use and costs. Careers in lighting might include installation, design, or sales.
  • Weatherization: Weatherization improves the energy efficiency and health and safety of a home or business and trained workers are needed to evaluate and install a variety of energy efficiency measures.

Common jobs and job types in energy efficiency include technicians, installers, energy auditors, electricians, engineers, architects, construction, marketers, project managers, and financial analysts.

Learn more about certifications relating to energy efficiency in the Certifications section.

Renewable Energy

Renewables are soaring in popularity as their costs have dropped below traditional energy sources. Pueblo County has made major strides in renewable energy and is a leader in transitioning its workforce.

  • Solar
    • What is it?
      • Solar can be generally divided into two types – thermal solar and photovoltaic solar. Visit the Department of Energy's (DOE) webpage on Solar to learn more.
      • There are many opportunities in solar, such as jobs in manufacturing, system design, project development, and installation/operations.  
    • Career Resources:
  • Wind
    • What is it?
    • Career Resources:
      • The Wind Energy Technologies office has constructed a career map, explore it to learn about the many opportunities in wind. Opportunities exist from entry-level to advanced level, and span job functions including construction, operations, manufacturing, project development, and research. This site offers ideas of pathways between different skill levels and job functions, and resources to follow these pathways.

Other major renewable energy sectors are listed below, click each link to learn more about each sector.

  • Hydropower
    • What is it?
      • Hydropower is electricity generated by utilizing the mechanical energy of moving water. Learn more from the Energy Information Agency.
      • While the construction of new, large-scale hydropower is uncommon, “micro-hydropower” is an interesting and often low impact renewable electricity possibility.
    • Career Resources:
      • Explore the DOE’s page on water power careers to learn more about jobs in manufacturing, project development, and operations related to hydropower.
  • Bioenergy
    • What is it?
      • Bioenergy generally refers to renewable energy that is derived from recently living organic materials. Learn more from the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.
    • Career Resources:
      • The Bioenergy Technologies Office has created a map of training opportunities. Find an opportunity and learn the skills you need for a career in bioenergy
      • Check out the Internship and Fellowships page from the Bioenergy Technologies Office for post-secondary and post-doctoral opportunities.
  • Geothermal
    • What is it?
      • Geothermal energy exists in many forms, but all generally utilize the heat energy below the Earth’s surface. This energy can be utilized for electricity generation or heating and cooling.  Learn more from the Energy Information Administration and the DOE.
    • Career Resources:
  • Storage
    • What is it?
      • Technology that can store electrical energy is rising in importance as renewable electricity generation expands. Storage is important to the future of the grid in that it enables improved management of electricity demand. Storage also boosts grid resilience in times of power outage.
      • Learn more from the DOE’s Office of Electricity.
    • Career Resources:
      • Energy storage and battery technology is a cutting-edge that is expected to grow. Search for opportunities at research institutions such as the National Renewable Energy, and explore job sites for related listings.

Jobs in renewable energy generally include manufacturing, installation, construction, project management, engineering and design, marketing, maintenance and technicians, site development and financial analysis.

Trades

Laborers skilled in a trade have many opportunities in the energy industry. Some trades are specific to certain energy sectors, while some (such as Electricians) are utilized in nearly every sector.

      Electrician

Electricians, generally, are trained professionals that specialize in electric wiring. Electricians are essential to getting anything using electricity up and running safely. They can work in many roles, but can generally be categorized as:

  1. Linemen:  Typically work with larger, higher voltage systems outside.
  2. Wiremen: Typically work on and inside buildings or other structures.

Depending on the specialization, electricians can become qualified to work with photovoltaic solar panels, new home construction, home renovation, specialty commercial jobs, and more.

Check out the Pueblo Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) for opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the U.S. receive a mean wage of $29.59/hr. as of May 2020.

      HVAC Technician

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems are essential to most buildings, and generally speaking are pieces of equipment that consume a large amount of energy.  

Below are learning opportunities to get started in the HVAC trade:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC and Refrigeration mechanics and installers in the U.S. receive a mean wage of $25.68/hr. as of May 2020.

      Solar Installer

From rooftop mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays to community PV solar gardens to large commercial operations, the fast-growing solar industry will always need workers to install and maintain the solar panels. Colorado’s own Public Utilities Commission has reported that Colorado ranks 7th in US for fastest growth rate in solar energy.

Qualifications of many solar installer job positions are like that of construction and other manual labor jobs. Getting a job as a solar installer is an excellent way for a worker to get their foot in the door of the renewable energy industry.

Explore the following learning opportunities to get started as a solar installer:

  • Solar Energy International is based in Paonia, Colorado, and offers training in-person and online so you can get the job you want.
    • Solar Energy International offers courses that can lead to the NABCEP certification, the leading certification for renewable energy professionals.
  • The Solar Training Academy offers hands-on experience as a solar installer. Graduates of the program receive three solar/construction industry certification and will receive support in establishing connections to employment opportunities.
  • Pueblo Community College offers a Solar Installation and Green Energy Technologies certificates as part of their Industrial Technology Maintenance program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar PV installers in the U.S. who are not electricians receive a mean wage of $23.08/hr. as of May 2020.

      Wind Turbine Maintenance

Wind turbines and wind farms are a popular source of renewable electricity. Like any mechanical instrument, wind turbines need regular maintenance. Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission has reported that Colorado ranked 7th in the us for installed wind power capacity in 2020. Wind power also has a strong presence in Pueblo, with a manufacturing facility, owned by CS Wind, that has in the past build more towers than any other facility in the world.

Wind turbine technicians are typically required to have specialized training in addition to experience with electrical systems and power tools. Technicians also often receive training on the job. Visit the US Department of Energy’s WINDExchange site to explore education opportunities for wind energy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technicians in the U.S. receive a mean wage of $28.53/hr. as of May 2020.

Labor Unions

Laborer’s Union International of North America (LiUNA) has been working in renewable energy for a decade. Unions have long been an excellent way to organize qualified laborers together for greater employment opportunities, wages, benefits, and rights. Explore the Colorado Chapter for opportunities at https://www.coloradolaborers.com/.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a large union for electrical workers that spans multiple sectors. Chapters exist nationwide, including in Pueblo. Explore the Pueblo chapter website for information on how to join, apprenticeships, and jobs available.

Schools

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY - PUEBLO

  • CSU Pueblo offers several degree options, from undergraduate to graduate, including “3+2” programs that allow students to obtain both an undergraduate and graduate degree in as little as five years.
    • Some programs offered that are relevant to a career in energy include:
      • Accounting
      • Business
      • Chemistry
      • Computer Information Systems
      • Construction Management
      • Data Analytics
      • Economics
      • Industrial and Systems Engineering

 

PUEBLO COMMUNITY COLLEGE

  • Pueblo Community College also offers many options for higher education. Explore their website or contact for more information.
    • PCC will host the two-year apprenticeship known as FAME along with an industry partner sponsoring two students starting summer of 2022. This apprenticeship is focused on developing highly skilled Advanced Manufacturing Technicians (AMTs).
    • PCC offers a multitude of non-degree Professional Development programs, some examples include Biofuel Production Operations, HVAC Certified Technician, and Computer Skills.
    • PCC offers numerous certifications, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Explore their programs. Programs relevant to a career in energy include:

Certifications

  • LEED Accreditations: Earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certificate to denote your proficiency in sustainable building design, construction, and operations standards.
  • AEE Certifications: The Association of Energy Engineers offers a multitude of certifications for experienced energy professionals, including:
    • Certified Energy Manager: CEMs are team leaders that develop and implement optimal energy management strategies.
    • Certified Energy Auditor: CEAs undertake energy efficiency assessments of large buildings and industrial facilities, reviewing building systems, occupancy, operations, maintenance, and code compliance. CEAs support clients with identifying energy efficiency opportunities.
    • Certified Business Energy Professional: Special recognition for individuals with high competence and ethical fitness in energy related business and marketing
    • Energy Efficiency Partitioner: For those newer to the energy management field. Demonstrates strong understanding of technical and operational energy management principles.
    • Renewable Energy Professional: Recognizes expertise in application of renewable energy technologies.
  • BPI Professional Certifications: The Building Performance Institute offers a number of professional certifications for the home performance industry, including:
    • BPI Building Analyst verifies knowledge, skills and abilities needed to conduct comprehensive building performance audits, including assessing whole-building ventilation, measuring airflow, combustion safety and testing/data collection. This role supports energy efficiency throughout the region and is in high demand in Pueblo County.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships typically apply to trades as a way to enter that trade. Apprenticeships offer hands-on experience and are an excellent way to build a professional network while gaining the experience needed to become qualified in a trade. Apprenticeship opportunities in Pueblo include:

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Grants

  • Skill Advance Colorado provides grants to existing businesses in Colorado as well as those relocating or expanding to Colorado.
    • Colorado First is a program which provides funds for new hire training for businesses relocating or expanding to Colorado.
    • Existing Industry is a program which provides funding for incumbent workers to receive training to adapt to new technology.
  • The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) offers many programs and grants to assist in training, education, job services, apprenticeships, and employment. Visit the CDLE Programs and Opportunities page to learn more.

These useful sites connect Colorado employers to potential employees:

COSSA: The Colorado Solar & Storage Association is a non-profit industry trade organization that keeps an updated listing of Solar jobs.

Government Resources

  • My Colorado Journey offers fantastic resources on finding energy careers in Colorado.
  • CDLE Energy Careers webpage contains a collection of resources and ideas curated by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment that is specific to careers in energy.
  • The Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is a good starting place for businesses interested in operating anywhere in Colorado.

General Workforce

  • Pueblo Economic Development Corp offers resources for current businesses and businesses interested in operating in the Pueblo area.
  • The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has divided Colorado into 13 regions to aid the formation of region-specific sector partnerships, and has founded a Southern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership with a focus on Advanced Manufacturing. To contact this partnership, email [email protected]
  • The Southern Colorado Small Business Development Council (SBDC) helps existing and new businesses grow in southern Colorado, and provides free and confidential consulting and low cost training programs.
  • Career Wise Colorado champions modern youth apprenticeships that connect students to opportunities and employers to talent. Explore their web page to find information on offering or taking part in apprenticeships.