Workforce Development

NREL's workforce development programs raise student awareness of wind energy career opportunities to meet the need for a highly skilled wind energy workforce.

Students at Collegiate Wind Competition.

NREL helps industry, academia, and government organizations understand land-based and offshore wind energy workforce needs and trends. Our hands-on, multi-disciplinary programs and competitions help hundreds of students each year gain industry-relevant wind energy experience. From primary school through post-graduate research, our STEM-focused educational pathways support professional growth for the next generation of wind energy leaders.

Partner With Us

See a summary slide deck of NREL's wind-energy-related workforce development capabilities, research, and projects. Explore more below.

Learn more about how to work with us.

Workforce Analysis

NREL collects data from industry, educational institutions, and the potential workforce using qualitative and quantitative methods. Our workforce analyses, such as a 2022 study on offshore wind energy workforce needs and two 2022 studies on the wind energy workforce gap, provide a national perspective to support a growing industry and inform the workforce pipeline in the wind energy industry as a whole and the offshore wind energy industry.

Areas of Expertise

  • Workforce needs assessments
  • Economic impact and data analysis on workforce trends
  • Occupation and skills mapping
  • Education and training programs catalog
  • Estimating potential job growth—technology and development approach

Workforce Pathway Development

NREL develops and documents educational pathways that help students, transitioning professionals, and educators understand the skills needed to be successful in the wind energy workforce. Through the KidWind and National Energy Education Development projects, we provide teachers with wind energy curricula, professional development, and challenges for 6th–12th-grade students. We also support communication and collaboration among researchers, academia, and graduate students through the North American Wind Energy Academy.

Areas of Expertise

  • Wind-focused educational activities
  • Skill-pathway development
  • Stakeholder engagement around wind energy workforce needs, benefits, and challenges

Workforce and Educational Program Development

NREL works with industry and academia to support the development and implementation of innovative, hands-on educational programs. Our Wind for Schools program supports education at primary and secondary schools, while our Wind Application Centers help universities in wind-rich areas develop wind-focused programs. The Collegiate Wind Competition allows college students to gain hands-on, interdisciplinary wind energy experience.

Areas of Expertise

  • Workforce program development
  • Active student engagement
  • Industry, academia, and student collaboration
  • Prize and competition development and implementation