Text-Alternative Version: Webcast of the Renewable Energy Competency Model: An Aid to Build a Renewable Energy Skilled Workforce
This is the Webcast of Renewable Energy and Competency model. Led by Linda Silverman an economist at Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Pam Frugoli Department of Labor. This webcast was on October 22, 2012.
Linda Silverman: What is a renewable energy competency model? It's just one of the many competency models that the Department of Labor has generated. This one is a compilation of competencies that can be included at the basis for preparation for a career in renewable energy. We were very cautious not to limit which careers this affects. So it is not just the technicians, but it can be applied to marketers, manufacturers, installers, accountants working in the industry. We wanted it to be much more inclusive than other models. There are no metrics or distinctions between entry level and advanced level so just wanted people to know that. And although we would like to see energy workers know most of the competencies that in here it is not intended that all energy workers possess all of the competencies listed. So in terms of whom and how the models have been used, it is through a range of business workforce and education, the whole pipeline, different partners use the model. So and industry competency model is a resource that can be used by any of those. So for example, an education program can do a gaff analysis to ensure that existing curricula are covering the right areas. Or a private company HR (Human Resources) department can use it to either support HR functions or to show career pathways to new and existing employers with what required education or training is required to progress. So with that I am going to introduce Pam Frugoli from the Department of Labor's education and training, employment and training division. She leads the agencies industry competency initiative and was very instrumental in getting this going. I am going to turn it over to Pam.
Pam Frugoli: Thank you Linda, thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon. I am going to provide an overview of the industry competency model initiative that ETA supports and then go over some of the feature of the renewable competency model which was released in mid October and talk about how the competency can be used and have are used as resources. So I just want to say that the employment and training administration is part of the Department of Labor and what we do is fund a nationwide public workforce investment system through formula grants to the states then also go down to the local level, that support job placement services and training programs for individuals to help them move into jobs with family sustaining wages. We also fund a number of discretionary grants that develop innovative approaches to workforce training that help develop curriculum. Or build capacity in educational institutions to do new kinds of training that may have certain technological requirements and we also provide technical assistance for that system and for the grantees and competency models can be and are viewed as part of the technical assistance effort
So when we develop a competency model obviously ETA doesn't have all the expertise so we really are the conveners of a team of partners from industry from education from labor from a number of industry and professional associations and in this case we partnered very closely with the Department of Energy. And we could not have done this model without them as it is quite a technical area. And so we really thank Linda and her staff for all of their contributions in developing this model. I do want to point out that there are 21 models all together and they are on a site that we call the Competency Model Clearinghouse and that is the address on this slide and it is on some later slides also.
Just to give a brief introduction to you know what a competency? We talk a lot about KSAs, knowledge skills and abilities, but we really view competency as a set of those combined together that enables a person to perform functions or tasks in a workplace setting. Sometimes you know in the academic setting it is all about the knowledge, but to really perform the work you have to have everything together. And then a competency model just is an assemblage of all the competencies that are related to a specific industry, sector or other work settings. So competency models they can be used for variety of things. Just by themselves they're sort of a container of information, but it is really what you do with them. The idea is to provide a common language to forge collaborative partnerships for workforce development. You know often employers talk in terms of their position descriptions and educators talk in terms of curriculum learning objectives and so forth, and this is sort of a meeting place to come together to discuss those and we will talk together a little more how it is used later.
So we represent the competency for a specific industry such as in a pyramid shape and really as you move up the pyramid it reflects increasing levels of specialization not necessarily higher orders skills or higher level skills. In fact the bottom three tiers are considered foundational competencies that cut across many industries even though they are customized somewhat for each industry sector then tier five is industry wide. Tier six is more industry specific and then we will talk later about the occupations specific tiers above that. So but within each tier there are competency blocks and so this gives an example of some of the blocks within each of the workplace competencies but behind even there are critical work functions and technical content areas. Even though we are showing you the pyramid here, we will show you more details later. This is just the graph to depict all of it at once but then there is critical work functions and technical content areas behind that. So the model for tier four has been developed, excuse me, the model for renewable energy has been developed to tier four on an industry wide basis, but then what tier five does is really call out the various major technologies within RE, but briefly defines them and talks about key occupations it doesn't actually go into the competencies for each of them. One thing that can be done is we have some tools that let you customize these models and you can actually build out a whole tier five model for one of these technologies, for example biomass or for solar. Okay.
So I just want to talk about a little bit about the process for doing this. We start with research --you know the process for developing the competency model. We start with research on things that are already out there curriculums, bodies of knowledge, skill standards if they exist, papers that have been written by industry associations, you know data on industry and occupations that come from our Bureau of Labor Statistics and from the state. Then we develop a draft model and we go to a large group of experts to review that draft and give us input from the people that really know and are on the front lines of this. So they modify this model, add to it, change words, move things around and then through them we go to a larger group of validators who review that model. And often our subject matter partners are the ones who identify these other validators and invite them to participate. And then once everyone has agreed that they are happy with what is in the model and the content that it represents the model is published on the Competency Model Clearing House. And actually it always has links so if the department of energy wants to have a direct link to that from their site they can do that.
So we want to say who are the experts in this case? Obviously I have already mentioned that a lot of the experts come from the department of energy itself but then they also introduced us to their partners the Interstate Renewable Energy Counsel, The North American board of Certified Energy Practitioners, other industry associations and also a large number of grantees from the National Science Foundation that have an advanced technology education centers in areas related to renewable energy. So they were all very helpful.
So while the model was being developed the subject matter experts identified the scope of renewable energy. We were going to include in this model. I think Linda talked about that a little bit at the beginning. So they decided that they wanted to identify the key technologies and occupation involved in the production of energy and power for electricity and heat. So you will see there is something about energy efficiency, but we did not go into it in the extent that it applies to like weatherization of buildings or new construction. So as Linda noted before this is the final renewable energy competency model in the pyramid format. And then we are going to go through in a little more detail the individual tier. Okay.
So here are tier one and two. Tier one is personal tier effectiveness competencies, it is often very common across all industry models in terms of the block interpersonal, skills professionalism and so forth but the language that is actually behind them can be customized to affect certain things that are specific to the sector. And you see academic competency again reading and writing are going to be on every single one, but things like science - it may be different science for different models or different mathematics you know whether it is algebra or calculus or trigonometry and so forth there can be customization there. Then workplace competencies one of the things I believe we added into the renewable energy model is the sustainable practices because it is such an important part of renewable energy that it was placed here in this tier. Along with all of the others that are very common to all models.
So finally these are the industry wide technical competency for renewable energy. Fundamentals of energy and power, energy efficiency the technology broadly quality assurance obviously you know all the applicable laws and regulation and health and safety which appears on many models. Just so you can get some idea of what is behind these blocks and of course when you go to the website you can see all of this and you can download it as a PDF document but this is just some of the details behind the energy and power all about the principals the basics of energy consumption components and working for the energy transmission network Terminology all of those kinds of things - are the competencies that these people need to have. Okay, and then this is tier five and again what we did was identify the major technologies biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, water, fuel cells, and hydrogen energy.
Okay, so just an example this is the kind of detail that is provided behind the competency for solar. So it talks about the different types of solar, solar photovoltaic, solar heating and cooling, concentrating solar power and list key occupations in the industry. This has not been built out to the levels of defining competency, but that is something that could be done.
So I just want to emphasize that we do have on the ETA site 21 industry competency models. We are pleased to welcome the renewable energy model to the fold. It is listed as 18 just because we have it in alphabetical order not because we do not have it in order by date. But anyway so, and also we have just recently updated the information technology competency model. Okay.
So now this is the view of the competency model clearing house site, just so you are familiar with it. So basically it has five parts -- the user guides, find resources, competency models and tools. So let me just talk a little about all of those pieces. The user guide just is something that is very helpful because when we first started out, we were hoping people would use it and we had a guide on how people could use it but as it has gone on we actually have examples of how people use it and followed their lead and developed some tools based on what people have actually done. We have and I will show you that in a little more details go to the next slide. Define resources, as we do our research we find a lot of curriculum and standards and things like that, we put it in a database that you can search. We even add things afterwards later on. So it is not like all of that is invisible to you you can go in there and search by industry sites, by occupation, by key word, and find the materials and of course the database contains things for all of the models.
Then the user showcase is where we ask users to write up examples of how people have used things. So, we do actually have a couple of examples there we have wind turbine manufacturer who actually, before the renewable energy model came out they used an advanced manufacturing model to build their own in house competency model for manufacturing wind turbines you know. Because of under actually number five there we have the tools there online interaction tools would let you start with the model and then customize for your own use and add to it. There is also a story in the users showcase on how the welding industry used the advanced manufacturing competency model to build out the occupational tiers, so six seven and eight for welders and of course there is a link to all 21 industry competency models.
And so some of the ways you can use competency models are just to help employers communicate workforce needs. We try very hard in the workforce investment system to really engage with business so that we are training for careers and demands. We actually have business services representatives and I know that a lot of education programs have advisory committees from industry but we find that the competency model can be, a way first of all, of do your homework before you go meet with them, so that you are somewhat familiar with the workforce needs and then to engage around that and customize and to even use it to do a gap analysis. You know when employers are hiring people they are saying these people have these competencies, but we cannot find people with these other ones and that is what we need your help with in training. It can be useful to develop actual credentials, to develop curriculums, to perform human resource activities, as exemplified by the wind turbine company and also for career exploration and guidance and that is a direct link at the bottom to the user guide site. And here is an example on the next page, but actual worksheet I mention under user guides we have a number of tools. So it gives you an overview but also you can download a worksheet cause we actually learned from a geospatial competency model that they had a geospatial program and then they did the model and they said we need to make sure out program is actually covering the competencies. And you may have similar programs that your offering out there in renewable energy so they line up. They put the all of the competencies of the competency model in an excel spreadsheet and put their courses across the top and checked what courses were covering what competencies. Well they found out that some competencies were covered four times and some competencies weren't covered at all. So then you can then say which courses can be best to make sure we cover that in and also we need to look at the ones in which it is repeated and see if we are building to it or adding on to the competences over time or if there is duplication and see if we can eliminate. So all of the models can be downloaded in these worksheets we have pre-done this for you now. So the renewable energy model is available in a variety of worksheets.
So you can see that there is four worksheet formats and identifying credential competence to build a citification, a curriculum analysis sheet ,and employer analysis sheet for their workforce, and also a gaff analysis worksheet. And then this is a picture of the site where the actual interactive tools are. There are two tools: one is to build a competency model and one is to build a career ladder or lattice based on the competency model.
So the build a competency model one is you go in and you pick the model that you want to start with. I have little demonstrations that where you see on the left in the green on the lower left it says tutorials. You can actually watch the video on how this works before hand and there is also a webinar that you can go listen to that is recorded. But basically you get the model and you are allowed to go in and either take all of the content like you go tier by tier and you can either edit the content add to it or delete things. But then you can also build out additional tiers so if the model only goes only to tier four and you want to build a tier five model say for solar you can do that and then add additional tiers. In addition once you've finalized your competency model you can then build a career ladder and lattice on top of it. You know either you can build for occupational competence on the tiers or you can build a career ladder or lattice which also then describes competency for each occupation. And that is the little model, it even lets you change position the blocks, you still have to put an occupation in each block and then you show the connection between them and how to get from one to another. And those are actually saved you sign on you register and you have an email and a password so that you can get back in. So you can even do this with other people. It can be a collaborative workspace and we don't actually see it is saved on a server. It is something for you and your partners to work with.
Okay, and I want to mention that the center for energy workforce development was our primary partner in building this and energy models for the utilities industry, the traditional utilities. They have also gone and built it out to tier six through eight and this is an example of their models. So if you go to the Competency Model Clearing House and you go to the energy model not the renewable energy model and you click on one of the top tiers and you get the link and go to this model from CEWD. So they have followed and they actually did the work afterwards they partnered with us for the model, but they built out the additional tiers themselves. So for more information you need to talk to the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), but this was giving you an example of how this can be done. An this is similar to what you see the welding group do on the advanced manufacturing competency model.
So these are just the step to customizing a competency model and this is all cover on the online tool and some of the descriptive materials. Now you gather your own background information to develop a draft model and pull together your experts refine it and validate it. And you can post it and sometimes if you post it we can link out to it as well. And you can let us know if it is something you want to share more broadly. So and that is the link to the user guide there. So now if we have time, I hope, we can entertain questions. Were there any questions in the chat room or do we want to un-mute the phones now.
New speaker: Am I un-muted you do you have a question you would like to share?
New speaker: How do you distinguish between beginners and expert levels can you talk to us about it a little bit?
Pam Frugoli: Yes, the idea is that it is sort of like the blooms taxonomy it is very hard to define. In a broad competency model for an entire industry sector, if you put in all the competency to the highest level like for the engineers and the managers than it can be very daunting for entry level people. So we are saying you need to be familiar with this content at some level. So for entry level workers they need to know that all these competencies exist, they need to understand them and the definition but they do not necessarily need to do that kind of work. Or they don't need to manage, direct, or plan that kind of work. So you basically apply the blooms taxonomy to each competency depending on your function within the sector. But the model itself doesn't specify that. That is something that can be done when you build out the career ladder and lattice.
Linda Silverman: So we have a question. Are there any competency models in the works for renewable fuel production and alternatives vehicles and manufacturing maintenance?
Pam Frugoli: Ok well labor doesn't have any such models in the works right now however that is why we create these tools so that hopefully you can start with an existing model and perhaps build that out, but none that we are aware of. There may be groups out there doing that and we hope that they might be able to use these tools to do so.
Do we have another question? Is everyone un-muted? We are trying to look at people who have raised their hand to say that they have questions. So if you indicate that you have a question we can un-mute your phone.
Linda Silverman: A copy of the presentation will be provide either later today or tomorrow and will also have a link to the recording.
Pam Frugoli: So that will be on the department of energy site
Linda Silverman: We can email to all the attendees but also we will have it on our website. We wanted everyone to know these are all the contacts so Pam's email and phone line and the DOE's EERE office has a Education and Workforce Development website that has a lot of information the link will be there you can find all sorts of other information if you are interested. It also for those people looking for specific program information there is also a programs specific area on the left side of that website. And then of course the competency model clearing house
Pam Frugoli: So you can type your question in or raise your hand and we will un-mute your phone.
We did this really because we are hoping that of individual companies or industries will decide to build this out further. We have done the front work for you. So hopefully this will be useful for a broad range of sectors from wind or solar etc.
Linda Silverman: We have a question can private companies use the model to evaluate candidates.
Pam Frugoli: Well then that gets into employment law. You could probably use it as a framework for an interview or something like that. Of course you could never use just one thing. It is not an assessment tool certainly. You have to evaluate the people on a number of factors, but I imagine that you could use it as input for structuring an interview or something like that. You would defiantly have consult with your HR people they would know better. We do not see anyone else who has their hand raised. Oh wait.
Linda Silverman: Are there opportunities for compressed biogas for federal fleet use?
Pam Frugoli: We did not cover any transportation in this model, mostly because one of the reasons that we did not was because in the lower tiers we kind of focused on what someone who works on the electricity side of things would need to know. If you are on the fuel side you would have to know a whole different set of competencies and not necessarily electricity related areas. But again that is another opportunity to build a model I suppose.
Ok well thanks to everybody this was sort of a quick and dirty view of this I really appreciate people stopping by today.
Linda Silverman: Oh we have a question from a Department of Energy collogue on are you planning to link to where they can locate training and instruction?
Pam Frugoli: Ok that is a really good question we don't actually department of labor doesn't do that with the competency models but we do have other tools: my next move and my skills my future where you look up an occupation and it links to related training register to finish state licensing agencies and credentials so we have not done it at the level of competency model but there are other tools where we can find that but that is a good point.
Linda Silverman: We have a link in our website the educational workforce development website you could look in the various areas there but related link we do have training specific EERE and specific to non-profit university and community colleges that specialize in those areas. Here is another question how can I get help to build a curriculum in my university?
Pam Frugoli: Well we would encourage you to go first to the website and explore a little bit because I think that the tools that are there could be very helpful. You know we can answer a certain limited number of technical assistance questions there is a contact us bottom on the Competency Model Clearing house website where you can get the question to us but we found that people are able to use these tools. In fact we took someone's tools and made them available on the web to make it faster and easier for everyone.
Linda Silverman: It relates to that I should say that Department of Energy was instrumental in developing and energy literacy foundational guidelines last year and we are also building out a model 101 curriculum for community colleges and universities that we are working on currently. There's more information on that on our website.
Pam Frugoli: And of course the department of labor does have grants that technical trade and technical assistance community colleges career training grants program does provide money for capacity building and curriculum development so in high demand areas
Linda Silverman: Ok, thanks everybody for joining us today and get in touch with either Pam or myself thanks.