Former Vice President Joe Biden welcomed former US Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz to the University of Delaware Tuesday to discuss the future of energy jobs in the US.
The pair talked about the need for updates and repairs to the nation’s energy infrastructure.
Citing projected energy industry growth, Moniz emphasized the importance of community colleges, and apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in underserved communities. And he said states should coordinate on training programs.
“The shift in the energy economy is certainly creating more energy jobs,” said Moniz. “And we need to focus on people, and skills for those jobs.”
But one Delawarean entering the solar industry is finding just the opposite. Benjamin Persondek graduated this week from the Renewable Energy Solar Program at Delaware Tech.
“There’s very few contractors locally, and those jobs are very few,” he said.
Persondek did get a solar engineering internship in Levittown, Pennsylvania, but the commute meant it wasn’t a good long-term fit.
“Sometimes it’d take me more than two hours to get there,” he said. “It just wasn’t feasible.”
He’s says most of the available renewable energy jobs in Delaware are seasonal. Still, he remains passionate about the field, and plans to stay in the area.
Tuesday’s event was organized by the Biden Institute and the Delaware Environmental Institute at the University of Delaware.