Career Pathways

81% Share of PowerPathway graduates employed in energy and utility industry, up from 58% in 2012

One way we prepare for the long-term is to recruit, train and develop the skilled workforce we need to upgrade and maintain our gas and electric infrastructure. Our workforce development strategy reflects industry needs, leverages public-private partnerships and reaches out to underserved communities to attract qualified and diverse candidates from our local communities.

Our Approach

Forty percent of PG&E’s current workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years. These expected retirements include thousands of skilled workers we rely on to build, operate and maintain vital infrastructure. Workforce planning to address this need is a critical issue for PG&E.

Our holistic, integrated approach to meeting this challenge includes innovative workforce recruiting and training programs; targeted outreach to women, veterans and other diverse groups; and specialized classes. We execute this strategy through partnerships with universities, community colleges and other initiatives, such as ProjectHIRED, Hire America’s Heroes, Troops to Energy Jobs and 100,000 Jobs Mission.

Proactive Recruiting

Our recruiting strategy involves extensive community outreach. In 2013 alone, our recruiting staff attended more than 40 events, giving candidates the opportunity to speak with our employees and learn first-hand about PG&E. In addition, we use LinkedIn and targeted specialized job boards to advertise career opportunities and source candidates.

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

Partnering through PowerPathway

PG&E’s PowerPathway™ is a core component of our workforce development strategy. Through PowerPathway, we collaborate with community colleges, community organizations, workforce development boards and university and educational partners to train the skilled and diverse workers needed by PG&E and our peers in the energy and utility industry.

Students receive an industry-informed curriculum that equips them with the academic, vocational and physical skills needed to compete for entry-level employment. PowerPathway was designed to help people who are out of work or underemployed due to the economy. Since its inception in 2008, the program has produced qualified graduates for our own hiring pipeline who go on to support the economic vitality of our local communities.

Focus on Veterans

PG&E has a rich tradition of supporting military veterans. We recognize the invaluable skills and perspectives they can offer companies looking for mature, highly-qualified employees. More than 700 employees, both veterans and veteran-supporters, are part of PG&E’s Veterans Employee Resource Group, which seeks to educate, support and develop PG&E employees with military experience.

PG&E committed to increasing our veteran hiring 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. We met this target with veterans representing 7.1 percent of the utility’s total external hires.

Education and Training in Energy Efficiency

At our three training centers, PG&E offers a variety of education and training programs in energy efficiency for building professionals, including architects, designers, engineers, contractors and technicians.

(Photo by David Kligman)
The Pacific Energy Center is one of three PG&E centers devoted to promoting energy-efficient buildings.

The Energy Training Center in Stockton, the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco and the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon offer specialized classes on topics such as residential building weatherization, building and maintaining energy-efficiency commercial buildings and energy performance in commercial kitchens. The Pacific Energy Center also offers a Tool Lending Library that lends building-measurement equipment at no cost to anyone working on short-term energy-efficiency projects.

To provide these courses, these centers collaborate with community colleges, trade and professional organizations, state colleges and universities, community-based organizations and other training providers.

2013 Milestones

In 2013, PowerPathway continued to provide a promising path for employment for would-be utility workers. This included courses that:

  • Introduced military veterans to utility work in Sacramento, Fresno and Solano
  • Prepared women for utility work in Oakland
  • Trained would-be pre-apprentice line workers in San Jose

Other milestones included:

  • Earned recognition as one of the country’s top 100 military-friendly employers for the second consecutive year and third overall. This ranking from G.I. Jobs Magazine 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.
  • Promoted energy-efficient buildings and design. PG&E held more than 200 training sessions and nearly 1,200 consultations in our three training centers.
PG&E Electrician Shares Story at White House

After serving as a U.S. Army infantryman in Iraq, Erick Varela returned to a challenging California job market. He and his wife eventually fell into homelessness, living out of their truck while looking for work. Their fortunes changed when he was accepted into PG&E’s PowerPathway workforce training program. Today he’s an apprentice electrician for PG&E in Eureka. In recognition of his efforts and success, Erick travelled to Washington, DC to share his story and introduce the President of the United States at a White House forum on solutions to long-term unemployment.

(Photo from

Measuring Progress

Programs developed by PowerPathway and our training partners are helping both new and experienced workers remain competitive within today’s energy industries.

Key PowerPathway highlights include:

  • 200 PowerPathway graduates hired by PG&E since 2008
  • 250 trained in 2013—100+ were military veterans
  • 81 percent of graduates employed in industry (including those hired by PG&E), up from 58 percent in 2012
  • 62 percent student diversity in the classroom
  • 7 percent higher retention rate of PowerPathway graduates compared with traditional hires
PowerPathway Graduate Job Progression

Most PowerPathway graduates begin their career as entry-level utility workers and advance into more specialized positions. Take a look at where they are today.

  • 33% Utility Worker
  • 21% Fieldperson
  • 12% Apprentice Electric Technician
  • 12% Electrician
  • 21% Miscellaneous (e.g., Equipment Operator, Gas Service Representative, Fitters and Pre-Apprentice Lineman)

PowerPathway teaches essential skills needed by utility workers, including pole-climbing.

Looking Ahead

The energy industry faces a critical shortage of trained professionals to maintain the existing system and to design, build and operate the energy systems of the future. There is no single solution to building and maintaining the skilled workforce PG&E needs to thrive in the long-term. We will continue to recruit and train new, talented employees using targeted outreach, building partnerships with diverse organizations, and creating a pipeline of prospective employees through strong partnerships with universities, community colleges and other organizations.

Our Sustainability Journey





Economic Vitality