Colorado C3E Initiative launched to increase women in clean energy industry positions
Thursday October 24, 2013 0 comments
By Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS - The clean energy industry needs more women among its ranks, and that's the goal of the Colorado chapter of the C3E Initiative officially launched Wednesday at Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins.
C3E - Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment - is a workforce development and networking program to help advance women in clean energy careers and operated by the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster.
Judy Dorsey, founder of The Brendle Group energy engineering firm in Fort Collins and co-founder and executive director of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, said she was inspired to push for the initiative when she realized not many women were moving into cleantech positions.
"We have not been able to move the needle much," Dorsey said. "I made a false assumption that it would happen after me, but it won't happen unless we make it so."
Dorsey was not alone in calling for more women to enter cleantech career tracks.
Eva Karlsen, director of Norway's OREEC (Oslo Renewable Energy and Environment Cluster) program, said getting more people involved in combating climate change is vital.
"Both women and men are important for the solution, but I think we have different approaches," Karlsen said. "We need to encourage women to be more visible in this field."
Karlsen, a member of the International Cleantech Network attending the Net Zero Cities conference in Fort Collins, was joined by Cambridge, Mass. Mayor Henrietta Davis, also attending the conference.
"The statistics for women involved in energy are incredibly dismal," Davis said. "Only 12 percent of people working in energy are women.
"It's time to grow the number of women in clean energy. We need the best talent to be involved in the challenges that face us."
The Colorado C3E Initiative will work with local community colleges, Colorado State University and local trades to develop an energy career track for women in the construction and manufacturing trades.
The Initiative will also work with cleantech employers to create a "results-oriented network and career resource for women professionals" to help recruit and mentor women in the cleantech industry.
Dorsey announced a nine-woman steering committee of Colorado residents will help guide the C3E Initiative in the state and said $25,000 in seed money has been raised - with matching donations from Woodward and CSU - to help fund the work of the initiative and scholarships for women.