Ann Randazzo - Center for Energy Workforce Development
Ann Randazzo is the Executive Director of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). She assumed this position when the organization was incorporated in March 2006. Ms. Randazzo has extensive experience in the energy industry including information technology, finance and customer operations in management positions with Georgia Power, a Southern Company. Prior to her involvement with CEWD, she provided strategic planning consulting to electric utilities, concentrating on Human Resources, Training and Development, and Organization Effectiveness through her consulting firm, Randazzo Consulting.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
STEM is the very foundation of a competitive workforce. My education is in Math, which has prepared me for every job I have had in my career. Math is not just about the numbers, it’s about logic, critical thinking, and the ability to start with a basic concept and build on it. I can’t think of a career where that isn’t important. STEM education provides the ability to learn and grow and that turns a job into a career.
In the energy industry, STEM Education and Workforce go hand-in-hand. CEWD has been focusing on career paths for in-demand position, including lineworkers, pipefitters/pipelayers/welders, plant operators, technicians, and engineers, all which require STEM skills. We are finding the incoming workforce has deficit in many of the STEM areas, especially math. By partnering with their state and local education systems, CEWD member utilities are working to improve these skills and help students better understand how STEM is used on a daily basis in the workplace. We’ve even developed a math bootcamp specifically for the energy industry to help build these skills.
What about STEM gives you passion?
My philosophy is that STEM is for everyone. There seems to be more awareness of the importance of STEM careers, but the focus is on the traditional STEM careers, such as engineers and scientists. However, we see in the energy industry that STEM skills are just important for someone who is, say, a technician as is for an engineer. We need to start stressing the importance of STEM education for all, regardless of career one’s career pathway. This is a message that the energy, manufacturing and construction industries are promoting together.
Of what one initiative you are most proud?
While CEWD has many initiatives for which I am proud, I would have to say the development of an industry-recognized credential that has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The 130-hour assessment-based certificate program is called Energy Industry Fundamentals and is a comprehensive introduction to the energy industry. Based on support by CEWD members and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are able to offer all course materials, including instructor guides, student guides and labs, free of charge. Several states have adopted the credential as part of the career and technical education program, including Florida and Georgia.
How is your company innovating to promote STEM?
CEWD integrates the STEM message whenever we talk about energy careers. We’ve even trademarked a statement that encompasses our philosophy Energy Careers: Putting STEM to Work™. Recently, we developed a set of career pathway interactive roadmaps that demonstrate this concept and the progression of career options for in-demand jobs in the industry. These are available at www.getintoenergy.com.