Massive Shortage of Electricians Predicted for U.S. NECA, IBEW Act Today to Ensure Tomorrow's Skilled Electrical Workforce

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America will face a
 shortage of electricians in the near future, according to the U.S. Bureau
 of Labor Statistics. Projections show that, by the year 2014, the national
 need for electrical workers will rise to more than 734,000 -- a figure
 78,000 beyond the number currently employed in the field.
     Explains Edwin D. Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of
 Electrical Workers (IBEW), 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.
 Says Hill, "Electrical workers are aging, as is the general population. 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."
     America is not alone in contending with a shortage of electricians.
 Around the world industrialized nations are grappling with shortfalls as
 their worker populations age. Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland and the UK
 have all reported major electrician shortages -- with an estimated 37,000
 vacancies in the UK alone. Canadian analysts warn that most of that
 nation's skilled electricians will retire in the next 10 years, triggering
 a massive shortage. In Australia, the dwindling ranks of electricians and
 other skilled trades has become so severe that it is now the number one
 constraint on business investment, according to a recent survey by the
 Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
     Says E. Milner Irvin, president of the National Electrical Contractors
 Association (NECA), "The predicted shortfall of electricians in the U.S.
 won't be just the industry's problem. Shortages affect all businesses up
 and down the line, by generally driving up the cost, and driving down the
 quality, of any product or service."
     Although the concerns are shared, countries differ in the strategies
 devised to meet future workforce needs. In Finland, where 99 percent of
 electricians are men, efforts are aimed at attracting women to the field.
 In Australia, recruiters are looking overseas, encouraging skilled
 electricians to immigrate.
     Here in America, NECA and the IBEW have taken a multifaceted approach
 to addressing the shortage. Says Hill, "Through our National Joint
 Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), we have been actively
 promoting our apprenticeship program to stem the manpower drop-off. 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, 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.
     Says Hill, "The need for skilled workers to meet the growing electrical
 demands of our high-tech society is a concern that cuts across geographical
 borders. 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."
     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:
     * Reach customers with accurate information about the industry; and
     * Achieve better internal communication between labor and management.
     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,
     Voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting,
 power and communications to buildings and communities across the United
 States, the National Electrical Contractors Association was founded in
 1901. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the industry
 through advocacy, education, research and standards development. For more
 information, visit

SOURCE National Electrical Contractors Association/International

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