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Souped-Up STEM Portal Broadens Horizons of Prospective Water Power Workforce

Sept. 14, 2020

A good thing just got better.

In July, as part of an effort to recruit the best and brightest to the water power workforce, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), partnering with the Hydropower Foundation, launched the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce development and education portals for water power technologies.

Developed to support the future water power workforce in their exploration of these growing industries, the resources offered via the STEM Hydropower Portal and the STEM Marine Renewable Energy Portal will foster a better understanding of water power technologies and their potential, introducing tomorrow’s workforce to exciting career opportunities within the sectors.

A photo of two men wearing hardhats crouching behind a metal testing device.
All you need to know about a career in water power is a click away: Check out the updated STEM education portals for water power technologies. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

“We’re collaborating with WPTO to ensure that the future workforce is gaining access to meaningful opportunities and valuable research on hydropower, the nation’s leading renewable energy source,” said Bree Mendlin, program director at the Hydropower Foundation. This month, the portals expanded their vast repository of open-source resources. Let’s take a closer look at this growing wellspring of water power materials.

Tools of the Trade

August brought the addition of several new resources in each portal, ranging from information on industry-led education and training programs to water power site visits and more.

Behind many of these innovative resources is NREL Senior Researcher Jennifer Daw. “We’re excited to be able to offer this broad collection of hydropower and marine renewable energy research and resources,” Daw said. “These portals will provide educators and students with high-quality, interactive materials that we hope will inspire the next wave of water power workers.”

As of this month, the STEM Hydropower Portal and the STEM Marine Renewable Energy Portal now count the following features as part of their offerings:

  • The marine energy and hydropower Workforce Data and Analysis sections now contain live surveys used to collect ongoing input and resources for the portals.
  • The hydropower Resources and marine energy Resources sections include information on academic education and training programs for K-8, high school, college, and graduate school students, as well as curricula, pacing guides, and lesson plans; teach-the-teacher programs; and visualizations, animations, and videos. Hydropower Career Pathways and Marine Career Pathways currently feature Day in the Life profiles.
  • Network and Career Building features resources to aid in networking and the job hunt, including lists of both hydropower- and marine renewable energy-related job sites to peruse.
  • The hydropower Research section now boasts presentations, studies, and technical reports authored by researchers in government, the Hydropower Foundation, universities, and capstones, working on the forefront of water power technologies. 

Building tomorrow’s water power workforce starts with educating and inspiring young people today. The STEM Hydropower Portal and the STEM Marine Renewable Energy Portal can open the doors to challenging, rewarding careers in renewable energy technologies. 

Explore what the future might hold for you with a career in water power. Visit the STEM Hydropower and Marine Renewable Energy Portals today and learn more.