In 2013, the Oil and Natural Gas industry, sought to generate public understanding of and support for the economic development, job growth and energy independence opportunities presented to the nation by the vast oil and natural gas reserves that underlie Michigan, as well as build a strong, strategic coalition of traditional and nontraditional supporters and allies.



Following a yearlong “listening tour” conducted across Southeast Michigan to introduce the Oil and Natural Gas (ONG) industry to more than 100 key influencers and leaders—representing business, civic, community, education, faith-based, government, labor and nonprofit organizations with an estimated 2 million constituents and residents—a roundtable framework was developed to continue the relationship-building efforts through ongoing two-way dialogue with the influencers during a series of working sessions.

RENEE WALKER & ASSOCIATES, in collaboration with a strategic business partner, established the Let’s Talk Energy roundtables. The Let’s Talk Energy roundtables were developed to serve as a vehicle for ONG industry needs sharing (training, skills, education, etc.), to empower the community’s self-development of programs that support the industry, to address known workforce development and job readiness challenges, and to build sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships for future industry mobilization efforts.


The Let’s Talk Energy roundtables have enabled a sustainable and meaningful exchange of information and the building of mutually beneficial relationships, while empowering influencers and leaders to self-develop programs and initiatives for their constituents and residents. In 2017, the roundtables will expand into the West Michigan area and the State of Colorado.

“The Let’s Talk Energy roundtable series overall, provides an opportunity for our community and its leaders to better understand the importance of broad access to quality STEM education and the career opportunities that this opens.” Dr. Tonya Matthews, former president and CEO, Michigan Science Center.


“As the economy grows, the labor market tightens, and retirement attrition continues, the supply of skilled talent is a key challenge for the Energy industry in Michigan. Traditional approaches to training, recruitment, and hiring are proving insufficient, requiring employers to work together to engage workforce and education systems in a demand-driven approach to build a talent pipeline and close skills gaps within the industry…Highly effective strategies focused on raising the visibility of both skilled jobs in the energy industry and the education and training path for talent, including their Let’s Talk Energy Roundtables, Workforce Opportunity Summits, and development and distribution of career awareness tools.” –Marcia Black-Watson, industry talent director, Michigan Workforce Development Agency.



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