Reaching Out to the Next Generation

Published on 27-Oct-17

            The demand for electrical contracting services remains very strong in our market and it appears it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

            So far, so good. Still, all economic projections point to increasingly substantial shortages in skilled trades, including electricians. Of course, a hindrance to encouraging more young people to enter the skilled trades is the misinformed impression many people have of the work our contractors perform.

            There are, however, encouraging signs that the trades are being viewed in a more favorable light. One example is the recent Big Build held at the National Building Museum in Washington DC.  The event is designed to provide kids from 4 to 14 years of age with a sense of the numerous opportunities in the construction trades - while having some fun.  Our LMCC underwrote the cost of a booth at the show and, under the leadership of Chris Cash, director of our JATC, and JATC instructor Lawrence Hyson, the daylong event was a great success.  Kids learned how a light switch works as they helped wire a circuit.  It was great to see the kids “light up” as they discovered the magic of electricity.

            Another encouraging sign is the decision by the Montgomery County, MD school system to construct a brand new, state-of-the-art vocational arts facility, The Edison School, which will open in September, 2018.  I recently attended a meeting with the school’s staff and, along with several other guests, toured the facility. I presented a brief overview of the opportunities and financial rewards available to students interested in working in skilled trades, including electrical.

            Working with our JATC leadership, we plan to support Montgomery’s new school with our time, talent and treasure, much as IBEW Local 26 currently does with the Edison School in Fairfax VA.  We see a tremendous opportunity to encourage students to pursue a career in the electrical industry – particularly working with a NECA contractor.

            While demand for services will continue and shortages will continue, it is encouraging to see signs that interest in -and respect for - the skilled trades is on the rise.