The IECRM Career Fair showcases many of the top electrical and renewable energy contractors in the state
There are few industries that have remained as steadily significant over the years as electricians. Demand has grown in the field in Colorado principally based on a booming housing market that has a lot of new homeowners crossing the threshold for the first time and the continued growth of both commercial and residential real estate.
“I wouldn’t say we are a recession proof business,” said Mark James, 54, who has been working as a contractor and electrician for 14 years after working for Rocky Mountain Bell, now Qwest, for 20 years. “But even when times were tough about eight or nine years ago, there was still plenty of work to be done. It wasn’t coming in like it is now, but it wasn’t feast or famine either.”
Indeed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) electricians have experienced steady growth for nearly four decades. While other manual professionals such as miners, steel workers, mill workers and auto manufacturers have seen much of their labor force depleted through a combination of innovation and automation, electricians continue to find work both with large corporations and as independent contractors.
“It’s a field that has benefited from innovation and technology, without seeing the same kinds of losses that those losses inherently bring,” said Aaron Seib, of Jobseekers, a network group of professionals who volunteer to help workers with career transitions. “It’s a field where you can’t get into it expecting to become a millionaire, but you also don’t have to worry about pending layoffs, restructuring or budget cuts the way a lot of other professionals do.”
According to the BLS, on average, electricians make about $52,000 a year (or $25 per hour) and have a job outlook over the next seven years of 14 percent growth (compared to the national average of 7 percent), meaning that the field is expected to add almost 100,000 more jobs over the next seven years.
Those looking to join the foray in Colorado need look no further than the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM) career fair on Thursday, July 27 at the IECRM main campus on 11429 Pearl Street in Northglenn.
Job seekers will have a chance to meet directly with employers holding on-site interviews in several fields including Administration and Human Resources, sales, drivers, electrical apprentices, journeymen electricians, project managers, warehouse, office support and safety managers. “With so many people moving to this area, the need for quality housing and commercial buildings and employment is increasing significantly. As the growth here continues and the energy landscape changes, basic electrical needs remain; homes and businesses need to be wired,” says Marilyn Stansbury, CEO at IECRM. “Demand for new electricians in the next decade is projected to double the national baseline, creating instant and reliable job security. Nationally, the demand for new electricians in the next decade is projected to double the national baseline, creating instant and reliable job security.”
The fair will also give prospective employees the opportunity to look at IECRM’s apprenticeship program, which allows students to take the 288 hours of classroom training required to take the licensing exam to become a journeyman electrician in Colorado and Wyoming while also fulfilling the 8,000 hours of on-the-job training required to obtain that license. “Our training provides job skills that will last a lifetime and provide a living wage, while simultaneously increasing the supply of electricians needed,” says Paul Lingo, Training Director at IECRM. “Military veterans, women and minorities are encouraged to attend the career fair for job opportunities within the electrical industry. And, IECRM provides classroom instruction while apprentices are employed full time and receive on-the-job training in the industry.”
“It may seem a little daunting at first,” James said of the requirements to become a journeyman electrician. “In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons why a lot of younger workers aren’t really willing to do that. It’s a little silly really, because they’ll spend thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands to go to school and get a degree and then get stuck with an entry-level job they hate while making $35,000 a year.”
Through the IECRM apprenticeship, students are employed fulltime as fieldworkers through a network of nearly 200 local electrical contractors making anywhere from $12-20 per hour while receiving classroom training once a week. Early registration is now open through July 7 and costs $840 to non-member, $590 to members
As the leading electrical and renewable energy contractor association in Colorado, IECRM represents more than 200 member companies and over 1,500 electrical apprentices and licensed electricians annually.
For more information on the IECRM career fair or the apprenticeship program visit www.iecrm.org.