The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) held their National Summit on November 15-17 in Washington DC. Community and connection to a shared mission of expanding the energy workforce of the future fueled the three day event. A cornerstone of any strong community is the recognition of the talent, drive, and impact of its members. Bruce Peterson was honored this year with the Workforce Champion Award.

Bruce Peterson holding Award next to Vivek Arora

The Workforce Champion Award celebrates an individual or individuals who show extraordinary leadership in workforce development by creating meaningful change that will influence, mobilize, and energize a diverse, skilled talent pipeline. Honorees demonstrate innovation, progress, and accomplishment within their community as well as leadership, mentorship, and stewardship for the industry and its professionals through support for local and regional workforce development activities, state workforce consortia, and CEWD initiatives.

Bruce has been involved in the Minnesota Energy Consortium since its inception in 2006. For the last 8 years, he has served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota State Energy Center of Excellence and currently serves as a Special Projects Manager. During that time, he became the Chair of the Minnesota Energy Consortium. In his role as chair, he moved the consortium into the future by making diversity in the energy sector in MN a priority. He was instrumental in getting Xcel Energy, TCI Solutions and Minnesota State aligned to launch the Legacy program. The priority of the program is to recruit diverse students into energy with a focus on lineworkers. As a direct result of that program the first students of color graduated from the lineworker program at Dakota County Technical College.

None of this would have occurred without Bruce.

But that was not enough for Bruce. When Xcel Energy approached him about starting its own Lineworker program and was seeking an academic partner, he put his retirement on hold and approached the M State Community and Technical College about supporting this request. He continues to work as an administrator on loan from the Center for the sole purpose of starting the Energy Careers Academy.

He has done everything from identifying a college partner, writing curriculum, identifying equipment needs and ordering equipment and supplies, recruiting instructors, coaching and mentoring the new instructors, and participating in student recruiting events and information sessions. This program launched successfully in August 2022, and plans are to expand the Academy’s offerings by starting a Gas Utility Substation program in October 2023.

His endurance and desire to see these programs come to life set the bar for both our educational system in Minnesota as well as our energy industry.

Please join us in extending a big congratulations to Bruce on this achievement and his continued support of Minnesota’s Energy Workforce.