(Photo by Flickr user Karim D. Ghantous, used under a Creative Commons license)
When most people think of jobs in the energy industry, they think of engineers — the people who design and maintain the infrastructure that lets you charge your laptop and keep your office cool on a hot day.
But engineers aren’t the only backbone of the energy sector, and Cory Budischack — chair of Delaware Tech’s Energy Technologies Department — wants career-seekers to know about another lucrative area that is less well-known, but increasingly vital: energy management.
“We train commercial energy efficiency specialists,” said Budischack. “Some of the jobs are desk jobs with crunching data. For example: a recent graduate measured the energy usage for all of the Wawa stores. Her main task was figuring out where they should put time into fixing energy problems.”
Some jobs involve working in the field. “They might come into a building and assess how much energy the it’s using with lighting, heating, air conditioning, and everything else. Then they come up with recommendations on how they can reduce that energy.”
The driving factors in Energy Management are two things that don’t go out of style: Helping people and businesses save money, and helping the environment.
“The money saved per year could mean the company can hire a new employee,” he says. “It’s not just saving money, it can have a real impact.”
Energy efficiency specialists come out of the program with a very specific skill set that is focused on reducing energy use. So, while the energy field in general has no lack of potential workers, few at this point have the specific skills required for these positions, giving the program its high job placement rate with cushy starting salaries.
(A report from the Economy League of Philadelphia says middle-skill areas in tech like this one have the potential to unlock growth for the region.)
Combined with the SEED program (available to Delaware high school seniors with a GPA of 2.50 or higher), Energy Management at Delaware Tech may be tuition-free. Students also have the option to continue their education after earning their Associate’s Degree in two years.