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‘State of the Industry’ Survey Finds Electricians Closing Skills Gap
Print Article Contributed by BSM Staff

LINCOLNSHIRE, IL – While the shortage of skilled electricians continues to be an area of concern, an annual survey by Klein Tools has revealed that seasoned electricians are volunteering to mentor, educate and train young electricians to preserve industry knowledge.

Most electricians also believe that on-the-job training is critical to creating a more experienced workforce, said the manufacturer of professional-grade hand tools, in announcing the results from the annual "State of the Industry" survey, with input from more than 600 union and non-union electricians.

Nearly half of electricians mentor or train others, and results showed that nearly seven in 10 electricians are concerned about the skills gap in the U.S. Labor Market; virtually all, 95 percent, believe more should be done to promote skilled trades as a career option for young people.

Electricians are finding opportunities to support the future of the trade in the following ways:

* In the past year, 46 percent of electricians have mentored or trained apprentices or students voluntarily. This includes 52 percent of union electricians and 43 percent non-union.
* Apprentice programs are the most common structured setting for volunteering. Of those who volunteered their time, three in five electricians did so in a structured setting, through an apprentice program, trade school, high school or official organization.
* Non-union electricians are significantly more likely to volunteer on their own with people they know.

"It is essential to the industry for experienced electricians to share their knowledge with apprentices and students to help reduce the skills gap," said Mark Klein, co-president of Klein Tools. "We value education and work to recognize electricians who serve their communities through our Electrician of the Year program. The 2016 Electrician of the Year winner and runner-up both volunteer their time with apprentices and students in the trades, and even donated their winnings to their local training centers. We encourage volunteering and mentoring, and continue to support our young electricians by providing the tools they need to succeed."

On-the-Job Training
This year's survey also found 78 percent of electricians who believe there is an electrician shortage agree that more on-the-job training would create a more experienced workforce. In fact, five in six electricians credit on-the-job training as the most valuable part of their educational experience.

In addition to on-the-job training, survey results showed electricians also spend a considerable amount of time in the classroom, with three-quarters of electricians having received classroom training.

Web-based electrical training has increased for the second consecutive year, and continues to grow. "We recently pledged to continue our partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and The Electrical Training Alliance to promote comprehensive training. We increased our original investment to $2 million over the next five years to be able to provide more tools and education to apprentices in these programs," said Klein.

Klein Tools also supports local technical schools that provide manufacturing, engineering and computer numerical control (CNC) machining curriculums.

"We partner with Mansfield Economic Development Curriculum and Workforce Solutions to offer internships at our manufacturing facilities in Mansfield, Texas. Students who excel in their initial internships can progress into a paid internship or full-time position at Klein Tools. We know how key on-the-job training is for the trades so we do our best to offer these opportunities," said Klein.

More than 600 union and non-union electricians were surveyed for the "State of the Industry" survey by Russell Research, an independent survey research firm. It conducted 201 online interviews from Jan. 20-26, 2015; 200 online interviews from Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 2016; and 200 online interviews from Jan. 10-18, 2017, to secure a nationally significant representation. Forty percent of respondents were union members and 60 percent were not.

For more about the survey results, go to www.kleintools.com/2017survey1.

A family-owned and operated company, Klein Tools has been designing, developing and manufacturing premium-quality, professional-grade hand tools since 1857.

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