Women Look to Close Gender Gap in Oregon Wind Energy
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. - A new Oregon law ensures that renewable energy, including wind power, will be a force in the state's future utility plans.
By 2040, half the electricity supplied to customers is required to come from renewable-energy sources. The state's commitment should mean more jobs in the wind industry, and Kristen Graf, executive director of the group Women of Wind Energy, said that more women are interested in the field, even though men largely make up the workforce now.
"Young women in K-through-12 programs (are) interested in science and technology, and often interested in it as a way to address larger world problems," she said. "So, why not connect them to renewable energy and jobs that are creating clean technologies?"
According to a survey by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2013, about one in five wind-energy employees was a woman.
Rachel Shimshak, executive director of Renewable Northwest, a Portland-based advocacy group for clean energy, said she has noticed a change in the demographic since she began working with the wind-energy industry nearly four decades ago.
"Wind energy has made a special effort to identify opportunities for women," she said. "and the Women of Wind Energy association is really trying to mentor people and include them in the industry."
Some of the jobs, such as wind-turbine technician, require extensive training and certifications. However, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, turbine technician is the fastest-growing occupation in the country.
Graf's advice for women interested in the field is to find a role model already working in wind, "and then, I would say, connect to other women around the industry. Especially in the Northwest," she said, "we have some really strong Women of Wind Energy chapters."
According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy makes up more than 12 percent of Oregon's in-state energy production.
get more stories like this via email
A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …
As the opioid crisis continues, more New Hampshire grandparents are seeking financial help to raise their grandchildren. Already struggling with the …
As of Jan. 1, insulin will become a lot more affordable for many Nebraskans, and those who have come to rely on telehealth visits are more likely to …
Some state and local lawmakers are on a long list calling on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to require big oil companies to help offset the costs of …
Health and Wellness
November has been Diabetes Awareness Month - but heading into the holidays, people who are diabetic know they can't lose their focus on keeping it in …
Conservation groups are celebrating a long-fought battle to protect the dwindling population of wolverine in the Northwest and northern Rockies…
As world leaders gather in Dubai for the international conference on climate change, the City of Long Beach is acting on multiple fronts to help the …
A new report is calling for greater accountability in the system providing funding to farmers in underserved communities. The research takes a dive …