Natural gas and its infrastructure provide thousands of Americans with good-paying jobs and a long career that’s constantly evolving. As one of those Americans, I’d like to speak for the 350,000 pipetrades workers who belong to the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry as we mark Career Development Day in November.
We all agree, more needs to be done to address climate change to protect the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest for future generations. That’s why I’m proud to be one of the workers at the forefront of training and implementing the latest technology designed to address climate change, and natural gas is part of that clean energy future.
Utilities are bringing more renewable natural gas and hydrogen into their energy mix. These carbon reducing technologies help reduce emissions while keeping thousands of us employed as we work to update energy systems.
I’ve been a member of the UA Local 32 Plumbers & Pipefitters since 1998. I assure you, 23 years ago we were not talking about renewable natural gas made from waste or renewable hydrogen created from excess wind and solar power. And in another 20 years, there will be new fuels flowing through the infrastructure I proudly helped build, allowing for a greater return on our investments.
Workers stay up-to-date on these new energies and continuously develop skills for our careers at the Seattle Pipetrades Education Center, which provides an excellent education, and a great future in all aspects of the pipetrades industry for journeymen and apprentices. Apprentices receive thousands of hours of training in the field along with classroom and hands-on lab experience. We regularly design new curriculum for our state-of-the-art training program to make sure workers are more marketable, productive, skilled and knowledgeable to develop in their careers for the long-term.
In the Pacific Northwest, we must be forward thinking when we think about energy solutions. Natural gas is uniquely capable of reducing carbon emissions while supporting the rapid expansion of wind, solar, renewable natural gas and hydrogen. We’ve made tremendous progress up to this point, and we’re excited about tomorrow as we continuously develop and grow in our natural gas careers.
By Leanne Guier, member of UA Local 32 Plumbers & Pipefitters and President of the Partnership for Energy Progress