Keeping America Well-lit: The Struggle to Find Skilled Electricians
Written By Marina Lucier

As the world transitions to renewable energy, electricians have become an essential workforce, needed to install equipment such as electric-car chargers and heat pumps. However, there is an increasing shortage of electricians, with many struggling to find enough workers to keep up with demand. Electricians are booked several months out, which is causing concerns about being able to keep up with government climate incentives.

Due to the scarcity of electricians, wages and prices are increasing in response to demand. Many electricians are referring potential customers to other firms due to being fully booked, and the price of jobs for electricians has increased due to rising raw materials, equipment, and labor prices.

The demand for electricians is expected to spread across the country as incentives from the new federal law known as the Inflation Reduction Act kick in. The Inflation Reduction Act was enacted in 2022.

This federal law aims to slow inflation by investing into domestic energy production while promoting clean energy. It is set to provide significant financial incentives, worth several hundred billion dollars, aimed at expediting the country's energy transition and enhancing the supply chains of clean energy. In order to tackle the issue of workforce scarcity, the legislation provides tax credits for renewable initiatives to the amount of hours worked by apprentices.

Due in part to this act, the current number of electricians in the US is expected to grow. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for electricians will grow about 7% over the next decade,  which may not be fast enough to meet climate and electrification goals.

To address the shortage of electricians, some companies are starting internship programs and partnering with local schools. The hope is that by investing in education, and promoting the trade they can increase the number of available skilled electricians.

Some companies are investing in expanding their services and offerings in North America. Some partner with trade associations, such as NECA, on training programs for electricians who install them to cope with the spike in demand that will happen.

Companies need to invest in expanding their product manufacturing and partnering with trade associations on training programs for electricians. More laws around sustainability are providing incentives to accelerate monitoring.

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