America will need to train more than 270,000 new electrical and power line workers by 2016, according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Predictions are that, between 2006 and 2016, an annual average of 27,000 new electricians will be necessary to accommodate growth in the industry and to replace those leaving the work force, with a total turnover rate of nearly 27 percent of the work force. By 2016, the number of electrical and power line workers is expected to reach 877,000, with an increase of 66,000 jobs beyond the 2006 level of 817,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported these estimates in its 2008–2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook, released online in December 2007, with a print version available by spring 2008.

“It’s imperative that we recruit and train the next generation of electricians today because many electrical jobs require years of classroom and hands-on training before the necessary levels of worker quality and safety can be achieved,” said Ed Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). “And being taught by experienced craftsmen is by far the best way to convey those skills.”

“The need for skilled electrical workers to meet the growing demands of our high-tech society is a concern that cuts across geographical borders,” said Milner Irvin, president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). “That’s why IBEW and NECA are actively recruiting new workers nationwide, using tools such as job fairs, DVDs, Web sites such as www.ElectrifyingCareers.com, even sponsoring a NASCAR racer to alert young people to the job opportunities in our industry.”

The search for electricians will become fierce, and many organizations are working to make sure the qualified electricians will be available to the industry.