For decades parents pushed their children into college, College became synonymous with the road to success, but things have changed. Ever since 2008 college grads had seen their earnings capacities crash as the economy sputtered. When the great recession came the mass of recent grads could not find work, and they were saddled with college loans. So many students found themselves working in service jobs, or unskilled labor positions making minimum wage.
All the while, the Electrical trades suffered for want of people. The Master electricians began retiring. It makes no matter if you are a Residential electrician, or a Commercial electrician the baby boomers are stepping down, leaving behind empty positions, the apprentices. The demand outweighs the supply in dramatic fashion. Companies recognize the shortage, and they are desperately attempting to attract young, talented people. The process of turning them into Master electricians will be expensive, but if a company wants to maintain hegemony they will make these expenditures.
The statistics do not lie. Over the next ten years some 95,000 baby boomers, our Master Electricians serving as the Residential Electrician, and Commercial Electrician markets are calling it a day and will slip into retirement. These numbers are exacerbated by the projected need in excess of 22,400 new apprentices each year for the next ten years. This will become a great problem and all the trades face similar issues. This will become a crippling situation.
The skills needed for these types of careers, are not simple, and a natural propensity for mathematics will always be a blessing. Combine that with the many years of training, both in school and on the job that are mandated to become a Licensed Electrician, let alone a Master Electrician, that it seems an impossible undertaking. Hence, too few are attracted to that life.
Many agencies at the Federal and State level recognize this fundamental lack of recruits and have begun to try and attract the needed numbers of young people. Funding has started to pour into the training programs required. These agencies are working with higher institutions to provide the class work for both Residential Electricians and Commercial Electricians in conjunction with more traditional college workloads that round out highly trained, analytical workers capable of the demands of the future.
Today’s electricians are a different breed than what they were ten years ago. Once, the most difficult aspects were thermostat wiring, fan installation, or maybe pool lighting, but now the electrician can be called on to install electrical management solutions for whole office buildings, Led systems that can recreate in an instant any color in the visible spectrum, or they may be implementing low voltage communication cable. The depth and breadth of their day to day functions are chancing, evolving.
The codes are updated constantly, and new technologies come each year. Training has become never ending. Master Electricians are almost the wizards of our technical society and bright futures can be assured for those who aspire to this complex, powerful and proud trade.