Tuesday, September 25, 2018

PUC Launches Utility Careers Campaign Encourages Young People To Consider Opportunities With Utilities

Public Utility Commission Chairman Gladys M. Brown and Commissioner David W. Sweet Tuesday joined with leaders from state agencies and utilities from across the Commonwealth to encourage more skilled candidates to consider career opportunities in the utility sector.
“There are numerous #UtilityCareers opportunities all around us – offering good wages, growth opportunities and the chance to make a difference in our communities – but they can often ‘hide in plain sight’ because students and other job-seekers are unaware of the options available to them,” said Chairman Brown.
Chairman Brown and Commissioner Sweet were joined by consumer affairs leaders from the Senate and House, including Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) and Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh), who Chair the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, and Rep. Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery) and Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks), who Chair the House Consumer Affairs Committee; along with Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani from the Department of Labor and Industry; Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; and leadership from numerous utilities across the state including Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Maryland, Duquesne Light, FirstEnergy, PECO, Pennsylvania American Water, Peoples Gas, PPL Electric Utilities, PJM Interconnection and UGI Utilities.
The PUC #UtilityCareers initiative is intended to help shine a spotlight on the types of careers available for Pennsylvania’s talented individuals of all ages and backgrounds to consider careers in the utility sector.
“Borrowing from the opening of a new PUC #UtilityCareers video – utilities power our lives; they quench our thirst and clean our water; they heat our house and connect our calls; and they move us,” noted Chairman Brown. “We depend on our utilities to power and connect our lives and keep us safe and warm – but utilities won’t work without the diverse group of women and men who conceive, design, build, operate and repair these essential systems.”
As part of a unified effort to increase aware, Gov. Wolf has proclaimed September to be #UtilityCareers Month, and the House adopted a House Resolution 1066 (Godshall-R-Montgomery) highlighting this important workforce development issue.
“Labor & Industry is proud to support PUC in their efforts to encourage individuals to consider careers in the utilities field,” said Labor & Industry Secretary Gerard Oleksiak. “We’ve partnered previously to make veterans aware of the many family-sustaining jobs available in this field, and we are excited to broaden that effort, to connect qualified, experienced job seekers with employers to fill vacant positions, particularly as almost a third of utility workers are nearing retirement age.”
“American veterans are highly-trained in numerous job specialties that make them an ideal match for civilian public utility careers,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “These high-tech jobs include satellite/telecommunications operations, cable/fiber line installers, electrical systems, engineering and logistics. The DMVA is thankful that the PUC is working to connect those who have served our country with utility sector jobs where they can serve Pennsylvania communities.”
Strong Need for Skilled Workers
Chairman Brown noted that across Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, there is a strong anticipated need for skilled utility workers, driven by a combination of factors – including an aging current workforce as well as the growth of new systems and technologies.
In Pennsylvania, utility employment is growing faster and wages are substantially higher than statewide averages.
The number of jobs in the utility sector has increased by more than 11 percent over the past five years, which is five times the job growth for all industries across the state – and the average utility wage in Pennsylvania is just over $93,000 per year, which is nearly twice the average wage for all industries.
“For a new generation searching for opportunities to start their careers – as well as other skilled candidates, like our returning veterans looking for new possibilities – utilities represent tens-of-thousands of community-oriented jobs, combining good wages with the satisfaction of knowing that you are serving your neighbors,” said Chairman Brown.
Nationally, utilities are expected to hire an additional 70,000 workers by 2020, and growth in the energy sector alone is expected to create an estimated 1.5 million jobs by 2030.
The statewide and national appetite for utility skills includes:
-- Engineers;
-- Field operations, including the people who maintain existing systems and build-out new systems;
-- Plant operators, who keep the energy and water flowing to our communities; and,
-- Various technical positions, including relatively new areas of concern, like Cybersecurity.
PUC #UtilityCareers Campaign
Today’s event is part of a broader collaborative effort by the PUC, public utilities and educational institutions to increase public awareness about career opportunities in the utility sector.
The PUC is working with institutions and agencies statewide to spotlight the options available for young people still considering careers, and for those searching for new opportunities.
As part of the effort to increase access to information, the PUC has established a new #UtilityCareers microsite to highlight information about job opportunities and provide access to information about the spectrum of utility jobs across the state.
“This is an issue that goes far beyond one agency or utility. It’s an issue that has the potential to impact us all, in terms of the reliability and cost of utility service,” said Chairman Brown. “These are systems and people we depend upon to keep our communities safe and healthy, and it is important that we do what we can to ensure that our utilities have the skilled personnel they need to meet the needs of today and tomorrow.”

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