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Edwin D. Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), explains that a number of factors are seen converging to produce the predicted shortfall in electrical workers, from high-tech demands swelling faster than the ranks, to the overall graying of America. "Electrical workers are aging, as is the general population,” says Hill. “The task ahead is not only to recruit and train more electricians to meet the needs of a growing industry, but to make provisions to replace current electricians who will retire."
Says E. Milner Irvin, president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), "The predicted shortfall of electricians in the
Although the concerns are shared, countries differ in the strategies devised to meet future workforce needs. In
"Through our National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), we have been actively promoting our apprenticeship program to stem the manpower drop-off,” says Hill. “Right now, we have nearly 40,000 apprentices in 290 programs around the country. And, we aim to increase those numbers by committing $100 million annually to develop the electrical workforce of the future."
What's more, students contemplating careers can find encouragement to join the field at http://www.electrifyingcareers.com/, an informative Web site jointly created by IBEW and NECA. At the site, visitors can browse through descriptions of nearly 60 different types of jobs available, as well as watch video testimonials from students already pursuing careers in this critical, opportunity-laden industry.
"The need for skilled workers to meet the growing electrical demands of our high-tech society is a concern that cuts across geographical borders,” says Hill. “Only by national and united efforts like the NJATC can we hope to match the growing need for years to come, to keep our future bright."
About IBEW and NECA
Acting through their joint marketing organization - the National Labor- Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical construction industry – NECA and IBEW together work to:
With 750,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields – including construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO. The IBEW was founded in 1891. For more information, visit http://www.ibew.org/.