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Energy, Construction & Utilities

Priority and Emerging Sectors


California’s Advanced Energy industry needs an additional 15,000 highly skilled workers every year, and Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to meet this need. The Energy Construction and Utilities Sector team engages education and industry to deliver to students the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for rapid technological advances:

California’s Energy, Construction and Utilities Sector covers a vast workplace, with occupations spanning from the generating plant to the wall socket. This sector creates thousands of jobs every year, driving expectations for educators to meet the continual workforce demand. However, many jobs go unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers - an increasingly difficult industry problem as the retirement rate for baby boomers increases. Meeting this workforce demand requires a systematic approach to preparing adequate numbers of students with relevant skills and knowledge across electrical, mechanical, construction, architectural, and engineering disciplines.

Energy, Construction, & Utilities Value Chain
Priority Occupations

Energy efficiency occupations address the electrical and mechanical functions associated with the installation, operation, and maintenance of systems for the utility grid as well as commercial and industrial buildings. In the construction trades, energy efficiency is layered on top of traditional occupations such as electricians and sheet metal workers as a specialized set of knowledge and skills to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint. Utility occupations are typically better defined, such as Power Line Installers and Repairers.

Selected Links to US Department of Labor Occupation Definitions:

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.

Notable Events:


  • PG&E has received approval to procure 567.5 MegaWatts of storage yielding 2,720 MWh of capacity, more than 4 times the capacity of any existing installation. Read the press release from Energy Storage North America (ESNA).
  • Navigant Research forecasts revenue for the commercial, energy efficient HVAC technologies market to grow from $29.4 billion in 2018 to $61.2 billion in 2027, owing to current regulation supporting commercial building owners to adopt smart controls, enabling intelligent management and building operations.
  • The Honda Distribution Center in Torrance has commissioned North America's largest microgrid installation, with a 2 MW solar array backed up by 546 kWh in storage - read more here.
  • This McKinsey report has a wealth of information on the impact that technology will have on work, including automation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, predicting the creation of 10 million jobs globally from new energy technologies. Read the full report.
  • Educators around the state met at the California Independent System Operator in Folsom, CA for a 2-day symposium on Integrated Distributed Energy Resources and the impact they're having on the grid, the climate, and the workforce. Read this article from
  • The Construction sector is hot! High paying jobs abound, and the Community Colleges are poised to get you the training you need for a great career. Read this article from NPREd.
  • California is helping low income women train for construction jobs - read the CNN Money article.
  • Check out this article on High Performance Building Operators at
  • The Lighting Controls Association (LCA) has partnered with the California Community Colleges to provide LCA's Education Express online training programs - read the announcement.
  • Over 1.9 million jobs in America are focused on Energy Efficiency, with 13% job growth. California is the biggest market for Energy Efficiency Workers, at over 320,000 jobs. Read E2.ORG's study.
  • Read the CEC's study exploring barriers to and opportunities for expanding low-income customers’ access to energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy investments.
  • NPR reports that San Francisco has begun requiring rooftop solar on new commercial buildings beginning January, 2017.
  • ​Why energy for industry matters: Read this release from Siemens.
  • This report says that California has the 4th lowest per capita energy consumption in the country.
  • Read this report on Prop 39 from CA Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León.
  • ​The Department of Energy is refining the definition of Zero Net Energy Buildings to gain consistency across the industry.
  • The CA Economic Summit has taken notice of our HVAC Employers Collaborative.
  • ​Just how many jobs does energy efficiency create? Read this BLOG POST from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The Answer is encouraging!
  • In the past 6 years, the Advanced Energy Industry has grown 28% across the US, now supporting 3 million jobs. Read this jobs report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute for 2017.​​
Building Energy Systems Professional

The Building and Energy Systems Professional (BESP), AS Degree offers students a broad overview into the energy efficiency, green technology, and building science industry and includes cross-disciplinary courses in Energy Conservation Methods, Renewable Energy (generation and storage), Energy Systems, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Construction Management, Architecture, Computer Information Systems, and Building Inspection Technology, Commissioning, Energy Auditing, Building Operations, Lighting, and Controls.

Electives are selected to support a concentration on industry specialties that are in high demand and stackable with other credentials and certificates. Students will have the option to focus on particular advanced energy sectors by choosing from various field of study, such as Alternative Energy Systems, Building Control and Environmental Systems,, Advanced Lighting Systems, Building Analysis, Construction, and Inspection within the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) related fields.

Click here for More Information about BESP.


Jon Caffery

Deputy Sector Navigator
Hosted at College of the Desert
43-500 Monterey Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92260