Workforce Development and Education

NREL's workforce development and education activities provide the skills, training, and experience that will enable the large-scale deployment of geothermal technologies.

Man welding a turbine.
A skilled workforce is vital to ensuring that geothermal energy is efficient and cost-effective. From exploration to drilling to plant operations, many oil and gas jobs are directly transferrable to the geothermal industry. Photo from Gad Shoshan


  • Workforce development geared to specific workforce skills, training, and experience
  • Economic and employment impacts analysis of jobs creation and economic output at the national, state, and community levels
  • Administration of competitions, challenges, and industry prizes

Economic and Employment Impacts Analysis

NREL's jobs analysis—part of our broader effort to support manufacturing analysis—focuses on jobs creation and economic output stemming from investment in clean energy technology deployment. NREL's jobs analysis has shown that:

  • Targeted investments in geothermal projects can result in jobs creation and positive return on investment.
  • Investments impact all sectors of the economy, including construction, equipment and material suppliers, supporting manufacturers, and service providers such as restaurants, retailers, and childcare providers.
  • Even rural, sparsely populated regions can experience boosted economic development and activity through investment in geothermal projects.

Competitions, Challenges, and Industry Prizes

Competitions, prizes, and similar contests support the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.  Participants in these events expand knowledge and share skills in the development and commercialization of advanced energy technologies. NREL runs annual student competitions for the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office as well as geothermal-related American-Made Challenges.  Read more about the competitions, challenges and industry prizes administered by NREL.


GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Impacts – The Employment Opportunities, Water Impacts, Emission Reductions, and Air Quality Improvements of Achieving High Penetrations of Geothermal Power in the United States, NREL Technical Report (2019) 

Crossing the Barriers: An Analysis of Market Barriers to Geothermal Development and Potential Improvement Scenarios, Transactions (2017)

A Retrospective Analysis of Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards, Energy Policy (2016)

Geothermal Exploration Case Studies on OpenEI, 39th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering (2014)

View all NREL publications about geothermal research.


Diana Acero-Allard

Geoscience Researcher