This piece was originally published in the August 2017 issue of electroindustry.
Chrissy L. Skudera, Director of Curriculum Development, Independent Electrical Contractors
The Harvard Business Review recently examined the changing landscape of retail, transportation, and manufacturing jobs due to an increase in automation. It reports that since 2000, robots have taken approximately 85 percent of the five million manufacturing jobs that have disappeared in the U.S. That’s a tremendous loss in jobs, but it’s an even bigger opportunity to train employees for jobs that cannot be replaced by a shiny new robot.
When it comes to industrial automation, we can’t have robots working on, essentially, other robots. We need trained electricians and engineers who can think, reason, and problem-solve when a part of the system fails.
The Independent Electrical Contractors’ (IEC) Electrical and Systems Training Series (ESTS) offers experienced electricians refresher courses. For those new to the industry, IEC’s four-year apprenticeship program educates students in the classroom and allows for on-the-job training. As an industry, it’s crucial that we educate workers—new and seasoned—to fill the roles that automation is presenting to us. The need for qualified workers is now.
“A career as an electrician is a gateway to more than 120 different trades, from educator to electrical engineer. With a shortage of trained and experienced electricians, it only makes sense to invest in those who are interested and excited to work in the field of industrial automation,” said IEC CEO Spenser Villwock.
Electricity drives the world, and a career in the electrical industry is one that will never be taken by robots.
 “As Machines Take Jobs, Companies Need to Get Creative about Making New Ones,” Harvard Business Review. May 22, 2017