By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 09, 2022

Better Buildings Challenge partner The Catholic University of America (CUA) isn’t just increasing energy efficiency: they’re also working to foster next generation of the buildings and decarbonization workforce. Over Earth Day, the university hosted a conference exploring how the workforce is changing as the global economy is affected by climate change.

The Climate Change and Future of Work Conference brought together speakers from government, industry, universities, and nonprofits with the goal of cultivating connections among students, professionals, and university members while informing students and the broader community about potential career paths. U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David M. Turk presented the keynote address.

DOE Deputy Secretary David M. Turk presented the keynote address at CUA’s Climate Change and Future of Work Conference

The event provided faculty and staff with insights and new ways to guide students as they work to confront the challenges of a changing climate. John Judge, Dean of the School of Engineering at Catholic University, shared that students are eager to learn about how their careers will be affected by climate change and how their choices now can lead them to careers that make a difference. Kassie Grimes, DOE ORISE Fellow who spoke on a panel, observed that the conference also allowed students to see firsthand a broad variety of climate career pathways and to identify new ways to center climate in their own technical and nontechnical careers.

CUA has one of the largest solar installations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and is well on its way to its 20% energy reduction goal

Catalyzing engagement in DOE’s Workforce Accelerator is a top priority for the higher education sector. The sector is in a unique position as higher education institutions of all kinds are involved in research, networking, and training the next generation. The CUA conference aligned closely with the Workforce Accelerator’s pillars: building interest in the energy efficiency field, streamlining pathways for energy efficiency careers, and improving skills in building science curricula. 

Explore the Better Buildings Solution Center to learn more about efficiency in higher education and other sectors. For more workforce development resources and information, visit the Better Buildings Workforce Development Portal.