Written by Luiza Mills, Senior Vice President Interstate Electrical Services
Today, high school graduates have more career path choices than ever before. Technology and innovation have expanded traditional roles in many career fields – the electrical trade being one of them. Students are starting to see how an interest or passion, seemingly unrelated to the industry, is leading them to a career path in the electrical trade.
Reasons why a graduate would choose a particular career path or field have shifted. Previously, we saw students entering the electrical trade because they wanted to secure a financially rewarding career without incurring student loans, or because they wanted to follow in the footsteps of a family member, or simply because they were interested in electrical work. While all these reasons contribute to individuals looking to enter the electrical trade, today we are also finding that students are pursuing a career in the electrical field from other motivations.
One such individual, Brian Harlow, our Virtual Design Construction (VDC) Specialist, found his interest in computers and gaming opened a path for him into the electrical trade. The VDC title is new in our industry as we strive to incorporate the latest technologies into the business. When Brian graduated high school he was unsure of his career path. He had an interest in computers and gaming, but wasn’t sure he could make a living pursuing this track. He decided to explore certificate courses at a local NH Community College. He soon realized his passion in computers and gaming could be used in the electrical trade by working with Building Information Modeling (BIM). He reached out to Interstate about a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Operator position and his journey began! Ten years later, Brian is proud to have used on the job training and self-teachings to advance into his current role.
We are seeing more and more stories like Brian in the electrical trade. For example, a student who is interested in becoming an interior designer can use that passion and experience to shift into an electrical detailing, coordinator or an engineering support career. We’re even seeing different motivations for some students wanting to become an electrician – such as those with a passion for green initiatives and wanting a fulfilling career that will add electric charging stations, hydro and wind power, along with lighting controls and sensors to reduce electric use.
As a woman in the industry, I am so proud to see more women entering the electrical trade. We are seeing more diversity in the workforce and in the industry. This uptrend in diversity makes me incredibly happy. It’s rewarding to see students being encouraged towards a career that identifies their interests and passion – not their gender. Add to this the increased utilization of technology in the industry and we see an ever-broadening path for individuals to pursue a career in the electrical trade. They are realizing the opportunities in the electrical field go beyond wires.