New Bill Seeks To Add High School Career Pathway For Utilities

Jan 9, 2020

An electrician working on a power line.
Credit Dori/Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers have proposed a measure to create a curriculum for high schoolers to explore careers in energy and utilities. The Senate Committee on Education and Career Development discussed the bill Wednesday.

At the hearing, Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) said the bill would create a talent pipeline for unfilled jobs in electricity, natural gas, water, communications and wastewater.

“I’ve become aware of a serious issue and that is a workforce shortage,” Koch says.

Patrick Dillon is executive vice president of the Utility Workers Union of America. He says to make the bill have more impact it should create ways to address a variety of sector-specific needs within utilities.

“The legislation is pretty broad and we are working ... to try to have [an] impact on shaping this a little more narrowly,” he says. 

He added his support however, saying that a general background could encourage younger people to enter an industry that’s seeing its workforce age out. 

Contact Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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