Utility workers wanted

Sarah Gardner May 29, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Utility workers wanted

Sarah Gardner May 29, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORYMARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Are you looking for a job that doesn’t require a college degree, pays well and offers some, well, “towering” views? Try your local electric utility. Sarah Gardner says lineman and others who keep the lights on are retiring in big numbers.


SARAH GARDNER: Over the next five to 10 years, about half the power industry’s workforce will be eligible for retirement.

That’s nearly 200,000 people — everybody from linemen to power plant operators.

Jim Hunter at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says those Baby Boomer retirements are coming as power demand is growing.

JIM HUNTER: Our electric system in the United States has an average age of 40 years for a transformer. Many of those transformers have a 40-50 year life expectancy. So there’s a massive construction boom that’s going to be needed to keep our infrastructure up.

Hunter predicts longer power outages if the industry can’t fill the worker pipeline.

Many utilities cut their workforces and training programs when the industry deregulated in the ’90s. Now some of them are launching massive hiring campaigns and working with trade schools to attract young workers.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.