International Workshop on Marine Energy Workforce Development and Education Efforts

THURSDAY, 20 October 11:05 – 13:00 Side event room 8


Marine energy technologies play an important role in the growing renewable energy industry. To spur innovation and growth in these exciting technology areas, the industry needs to inspire, attract, and train the next generation of marine energy workers. Despite increasing interest in the industry, its nascency and lack of public awareness and educational opportunities present a challenge in developing a workforce pipeline. To facilitate the innovation and interest needed to advance marine energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Hydropower Foundation, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, have been developing workforce development programs and informational resources for students and educators.

Our work has resulted in development of programs and resources to engage the marine energy industry and academia in order to better understand and address their challenges, primarily in the United States. We have also sought student perspectives of the marine energy industry and surveyed key stakeholders to identify availability of domestic educational programs. Our research found that there is strong student interest in marine energy, but it is limited by a lack of awareness of educational programs, industry job opportunities, and potential career pathways. Professors often struggle to secure sufficient funding to integrate marine energy into their curricula or research, creating a situation where students are not exposed to marine energy in school and are, in turn, unprepared or unaware of jobs in the industry.

Through outreach and analysis, our goal is to improve accessibility and distribution of educational materials and increase awareness of marine energy as a promising renewable energy source. Our efforts have also served to increase the level of public knowledge on the marine energy industry and career opportunities in this sector.


NREL and the Hydropower Foundation aim to gain a better understanding of the marine energy science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and workforce development projects and programs that exist internationally and maximize the reach and impact of our efforts. During the workshop, participants will:

  1. Share the latest relevant knowledge about global marine energy workforce needs
  2. Share work being done internationally in this space
  3. Review lessons learned on existing STEM and workforce development programs
  4. Investigate synergies across different organizations and countries
  5. Identify gaps in available materials and programs and discuss opportunities to fill gaps
  6. Understand who is working in this space and build our international network
  7. Identify if there is a need and desire for an international consortium on marine energy workforce


We welcome anyone working in or with knowledge of workforce development and/or STEM education efforts within their country or organizations. This could be, but is not limited to, developers, academia, government, non-governmental organizations, unions, veteran organizations, or similar. We also encourage attendance for those without a background in STEM/workforce development projects that are interested in learning more about this space.

Preparation for the Meeting:

Although it’s not required for attendees to be actively involved in workforce development efforts, we would like those who are to come to the workshop prepared to talk about projects they are aware of or involved in related to water workforce and STEM education including:

  • A brief description of each water power STEM and workforce project/initiative, including current and future planned activities in the following areas:
    • K-12 programming
    • University programming
    • Craft and trade programming
    • Workforce or STEM Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity programming
    • Workforce or STEM analysis
  • How each project is currently being funded and, if it’s not funded by industry, why not?
    • Help us identify to what extent industry receives a benefit
  • Examples of efforts in attracting workforce participants from other industries
  • The intended audience and reach for each project
  • A list of partners.

Feel free to check out the NREL-developed STEM Portals prior to the meeting:

We will start the workshop immediately following the Thursday morning sessions and adjourn by the closing session.

Time Content Presenter
11:05-11:10 Meeting Purpose Arielle Cardinal – NREL Allison Johnson – U.S. Department of Energy
11:10-11:20 Introductions All attendees

(20 minutes)

NREL water STEM project overview Arielle Cardinal

11:40-12:20 Around the room discussion – facilitators will ask for participants to provide information on STEM and workforce efforts in their countries and organizations.

Facilitators will be listing activities on large post-it sheets and actively identifying possible connections.

All attendees
12:20-12:35 15-minute Break (and informal review/revision of post it sheets)
12:35-12:40 Facilitate assessment of linkages and add/change as needed as a group Arielle Cardinal and Allison Johnson
12:40-12:55 Facilitate discussion to identify gaps and discuss opportunities for filling the gaps and determine next steps Arielle Cardinal and Allison Johnson
12:55-13:00 Wrap-up Arielle Cardinal and Allison Johnson
13:00 Adjourn Arielle Cardinal and Allison Johnson


Contact Arielle Cardinal with any questions ( and to RSVP.

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