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Developing America’s Next Generation of Electric Utility Professionals

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Paper Authors


Sonya Overstreet EASi

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Sonya Overstreet, Learning and Development Manager (North America) at EASi a global engineering services company. Mrs. Overstreet’s professional career includes years of experience in the engineering field. For several years, she managed the integration, use, and support of engineering design software at a multi-regional civil engineering firm. In her current position, Mrs. Overstreet is responsible for executing learning & development strategies to ensure the building of employee capabilities, development of leaders and retention of key talent to meet business objectives. Mrs. Overstreet earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Communication from Otterbein College and a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Performance Technology from Franklin University. Mrs. Overstreet has also earned the designation of Certified Performance Technologist from the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).

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Developing America’s Next Generation of Electric Utility Professionals

In today’s professional workplace environment, there is a mix of three distinct generations, baby boomer, generation x, and generation y also referred to as millennials. Baby boomers, the post-World War II generation born between 1946 and 1964. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980 and millennials born between 1981 and 2000. As baby boomers age, they will continue to leave the workforce. With their departure years of knowledge, skill and experience are also leaving the workforce. The utility industry like many others is feeling the effect of baby boomer’s exodus to retirement. A variety of factors including the growing retirement eligibility and “…the generational shift in the traditional utility workforce…” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2013) is having an adverse effect on the utility industry. As of June 2015, the millennial population reached 83.1 million surpassing the 74.5 million baby boomers (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor 46.2 million baby boomers, 46.9 million generation x and 46.4 million millennials were employed in the fourth quarter of 2014. Baby boomers began to reach retirement age, 65, in 2011. All baby boomer will be over 65 by 2029 and will make up more than 20 percent of the U.S. population (Colby & Ortman, 2014).

This paper will discuss how an engineering services company is collaborating with one of the nation’s largest electric utility companies and local colleges to develop the next generation of electric utility professionals. “Company Name” has developed a unique engineering services model that embraces all three generations, baby boomer, generation x and millennials. The objectives of the model are (1) create a culture of learning, (2) reengage retired utility workers in the workforce, (3) develop midcareer electrical engineers, recent two-year electrical engineering technology and four-year electrical engineering graduates, (4) develop a talent pool for electric utility companies and (5) create an internship and recruitment program with local colleges

Overstreet, S. (2017, June), Developing America’s Next Generation of Electric Utility Professionals Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28138

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