Economic Vitality

Building Career Pathways


Percentage of PowerPathway™ graduates hired into industry jobs

As we build for the long-term, we are focused on recruiting, training and developing the skilled workforce we need to upgrade and maintain our gas and electric infrastructure. Our workforce development strategy focuses on industry-driven needs, engages in public-private partnerships and reaches out to underserved communities. Two additional areas of focus include hiring veterans and a growing effort to bring more women into the utility workforce.

Building a Skilled and Qualified Workforce

A significant number of our employees are eligible to retire in the next five years. These expected retirements include thousands of skilled workers we rely on to build, operate and maintain our vital infrastructure. While this represents a significant challenge for PG&E and the industry, it also creates new opportunities for those interested in utilities and energy sector careers.

Meeting this challenge requires taking a holistic, integrated approach. We are recruiting and training new employees by conducting targeted outreach, building partnerships with diverse organizations and creating a pipeline of prospective employees through strong partnerships with universities and community colleges.

Complementing these efforts, our recruiting strategy involves extensive community outreach and collaboration with organizations around the country. In 2012 alone, our recruiting staff attended nearly 80 events, giving candidates the opportunity to meet our employees and learn first-hand about PG&E. In addition, we utilize LinkedIn and Facebook to advertise opportunities and source candidates.

We also offer summer internships and entry-level engineer and other rotational programs for new college graduates to introduce young professionals to new work experiences and career development opportunities.

Partnering through PowerPathway™

In the face of increasing retirements and emerging technologies, PG&E’s PowerPathway™ is a core component of our workforce development strategy—a model that enables PG&E to help California produce the skilled and diverse workers needed by PG&E and the energy and utilities industry.

Key PowerPathway Highlights

Workers training on utility poles.
Since 2008, PowerPathway has provided a path for employment for potential utility workers.
  • 71% of graduates employed in industry
  • 62% student diversity in classroom
  • 98% rate of retention at PG&E after 6 months of employment*
  • 70% of graduates progress into apprenticeships or higher job classifications within one year of hire
  • $25 average hourly starting wage

* Compared to similar group of employee classifications.

Now in its fifth year, PowerPathway pilots and develops post-secondary training programs to help youths, women, veterans and people from diverse communities build skills and develop careers in the energy and utilities industry. By partnering with California’s community colleges and universities, workforce development systems, community-based organizations, military installations, industry employers and labor, we are building community access to and awareness of careers in the energy industry.

Through 2012, PowerPathway has trained more than 340 students through 14 Bridge to Utility Worker programs, including more than 180 military veterans. PowerPathway will scale by over 250 percent to graduate more than 250 students in 2013.

Students receive an industry-informed curriculum to equip them with the academic, job-specific skills and physical training necessary to effectively compete for entry-level employment. At PG&E, most graduates begin as entry-level utility workers and quickly progress into higher job classifications such as fieldperson, gas service representative, apprentice electrician and apprentice system operator.

Other PowerPathway programs include:

  • Capstone Utility Welding program at Butte College in Chico delivers a consistent stream of candidates from which PG&E hires six to 10 apprentice welders each year.
  • Certificate of Electrical and Power Systems program at College of San Mateo enables PG&E and other employers to source hard-to-fill apprentice electrical technician positions.
  • Introduction to Pole Climbing Capstone programs piloted at Fresno City College and Oakland-based Cypress Mandela Training Center address increased demand for entry-level candidates with pole climbing skills.

Our goal is to expand and diversify the courses to meet increasing gas and electric operations demand for specialized training. Another area of focus is expanding our existing curriculum and programs across PG&E’s service area to provide more training locally.

In partnership with the Center for Energy Workforce Development, PG&E will also continue to collaborate with high schools, community colleges and the workforce investment system to implement Get Into Energy Career Pathways to increase career awareness of energy and utilities careers.

In 2013, PowerPathway is featuring a course in Oakland designed for women and a course in San Jose for would-be pre-apprentice line workers.

Focus on Veterans

PG&E has a rich tradition of supporting armed forces veterans. We recognize the valuable skills and perspectives they can offer companies looking for qualified employees to create a next-generation workforce. With the added boost of some focused training and assistance, many can transition smoothly into these new roles. (Watch a video to learn more.)

GI Jobs logo
Pacific Gas and Electric Company was named among the country’s top 100 military-friendly employers by G.I. Jobs Magazine for the second consecutive year. The ranking is based on the strength of military-recruiting efforts, percentage of new hires with prior military service, retention programs and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service.

PG&E established a Veterans Employee Resource Group in 2011 to educate, support and develop PG&E employees with military experience. More than 600 employees have joined the group, which is open to all workers regardless of veteran status.

In 2012, we filled more than 200 vacancies with veterans, nearly 150 of which were outside hires or, about 7 percent of the utility’s total external hires. PG&E committed to increasing our veterans hiring and placement program by 10 percent in 2013, as part of our support for the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, a national effort to train and hire military veterans and their spouses.

PG&E is taking steps to recruit and assist military members as part of PowerPathway, with a total of six courses serving only recently discharged veterans. In 2013, PowerPathway is featuring courses in Sacramento and Fresno to introduce military veterans to utility work and also offers a welding course for veterans at American River College in Sacramento.

Energy Efficiency Workforce Education and Training

Architects, engineers, designers, contractors and technicians are among those who play a significant role in designing, constructing and maintaining energy efficient buildings. PG&E offers these building professionals a diverse set of workforce education and training programs through three training centers.

PG&E’s Energy Training Center in Stockton is the longest continuously operating weatherization training center in the nation, supporting the state’s efforts for the past 35 years. The center, which specializes in residential buildings, has trained more than 91,000 participants to perform energy audits, weatherization or home performance services. More than 2 million Californians have benefited from these services.

The Pacific Energy Center is one of three PG&E centers devoted to promoting energy-efficient buildings.

PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center, which opened its doors to the public in 1991, helps architects, engineers, developers, contractors and building operators design, build and maintain energy-efficient commercial buildings. One of the center’s most popular features is its Tool Lending Library, from which anyone working on short-term energy-efficiency projects can borrow building-measurement equipment at no cost.

Finally, the San Ramon Food Service Technology Center caters to restaurants and buildings for the food service industry. For the past 25 years, the center has benchmarked the energy performance of equipment used in commercial kitchens.

These centers collaborate with other organizations, including community colleges, trade and professional organizations, state colleges and universities, community-based organizations and other training providers. Through these efforts, the centers reach a wide and diverse audience and complement PG&E’s pioneering PowerPathway workforce development program.