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PG&E Continues Its Commitment To Workforce Investment To Help Keep California—and America—At The Forefront of 21st Century Economy

04/10/2015

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) strongly believes closing the “so-called ‘skills gap’” is one of the best ways the utility can bring high-quality job opportunities to local communities and help them thrive.

One way PG&E is achieving this goal is through its nationally-recognized PowerPathway™ program. The program was spotlighted Friday morning as PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley welcomed Vice President Joe Biden to the utility’s Oakport Service Center in Oakland to meet students attending a PowerPathway training class. The Vice President, Earley and IBEW Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell spoke with the 15 students, consisting solely of male and female veterans.

“We’re proud to show Vice President Biden and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf the commitment PG&E has to training our nation’s veterans, and many others, for successful careers in the utility industry. We appreciate the partnership PG&E has had with the Obama Administration over the years on workforce development. Together, we’re focused on getting veterans and long-term unemployed Americans into careers—not just jobs. PowerPathway is one of the ways PG&E is building the workforce that will help power California’s future,” Earley said.

In PowerPathway’s six-year history, 600 people—including 300 veterans—have graduated with more than 80 percent having been hired by PG&E or the utility industry.

Vice President Biden was in the second day of a two-day visit to the San Francisco Bay Area to discuss the importance of workforce development and investing in job training programs, like PowerPathway.

“For decades, the Vice President has been a tireless champion for our nation’s veterans and a trailblazer in supporting programs to provide education and workforce training opportunities to our brave veterans returning home. I’m glad the Vice President is here to see PG&E’s work actively recruiting veterans for their PowerPathway program so they can train and develop the next generation of utility workers. It’s an honor to have the Vice President in the East Bay to see this program in action,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland.

“Improving our economy fuels jobs that empower Americans who have been hungering to get back to work,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I want to thank Vice President Joe Biden and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for their unwavering commitment to rebuilding our national economy. We’ve felt the impact of their leadership in Oakland where we’ve seen a nearly 50% drop in our unemployment rate since 2010. I am confident that by continuing to make smart investments in our workforce such as Oakland’s recent passage of a minimum wage increase and by looking for ways to expand innovative partnerships like PG&E’s PowerPathway program, we’ll enjoy even more equitable growth.”

PowerPathway is just one of the ways PG&E has partnered with the Obama Administration on workforce and economic development initiatives which touch long-term unemployed Americans, small and diverse owners and military veterans. It’s all part of the utility’s support of the White House commitment to investing in a workforce that will keep California—and America—at the forefront of the 21st century economy.

PowerPathway’s success has resulted from strong partnerships and alliances with the IBEW, community colleges, non-profit organizations and workforce investment boards.

The students visited by Vice President Biden today are participating in the first-ever “straight-to-contractor” job approach. PowerPathway, in collaboration with the company’s gas construction department and CANUS Corporation (a PG&E contractor), has developed a program that will send graduates directly to work on a PG&E contract with CANUS to gain critical work experience while awaiting or pursuing utility job opportunities.

Following their six-week training session and on-the-job experience with CANUS during the year, program graduates will receive necessary certification, have experience on PG&E and other utility gas infrastructure and be ready to competitively apply for positions with PG&E or other utility companies.

This is the first PowerPathway program to offer participants a nationally recognized certificate. NACE International’s CIP Level One certificate is also internationally recognized and used by companies throughout the United States.

In addition to CANUS Corporation, the utility is also working with Jewish Vocational Services (to help develop soft skills such as resume building and job interviewing) and Swords to Plowshares (to manage each student’s case and provide supportive services).

Besides PowerPathway, PG&E has been the leading partner with the Obama Administration over the last two years on these initiatives aimed at improving the workforce:

  • Long-Term Unemployment: PG&E made a commitment to address challenges faced by the unemployed and veteran populations with the creation of two PowerPathway workforce development programs in California’s Fresno region.
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: PG&E supported the signing of this act which enhances opportunities to provide trainees the skills employers need.
  • Small Business Supplier Financing Initiative: PG&E was one of the first companies to sign on for this program to expedite payments for goods and services and promote better access to financing—all with the intent of creating jobs.
  • Leading Forward: The White House recognized this program as a best practice to help workers gain skills to advance into better paying jobs.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Tony Khing or Keith Stephens, 415-973-5930

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