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Powering America
Powering America
The Economic and Workforce Contributions of the U.S. Electric Power Industry
A new report by M.J. Bradley & Associates provides a detailed analysis of the role that electric companies—and their employees—play in the nation’s labor force and economy. Powering America: The Economic and Workforce Contributions of the U.S. Electric Power Industry reinforces that the electric power industry is vital to American jobs and our nation's economy.
 
Among the report’s key findings:
  • The electric power industry directly provides nearly 2.7 million jobs across the United States through its employees, contractors and supply chain, and investments. More than 4.4 million additional jobs are supported through the induced effects of these jobs. 
  • In total, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million American jobs—or 1 out of every 20 U.S. jobs. 
  • As a whole, the electric power industry contributes $880 billion or 5 percent of total GDP. We might think of this as the first 5 percent of the American economy because virtually every other sector of the economy depends on the safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy delivered by the men and women of the electric power industry.
Understanding the industry’s value, economic contributions, and changing nature is critical to policy decisions related to employment and economic growth. “The value of electricity and of the electric power industry cannot be overstated,” the report says. “A strong workforce is essential to providing the safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy we so often take for granted. The men and women who work in the industry are important leaders and contributors in their communities in every corner of the country.”
 
M.J. Bradley & Associates conducted this study on behalf of EEI, the American Public Power Association, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Read Powering America here. Read EEI's press release and EEI President Tom Kuhn's op-ed on GE Reports. Read more key findings below.
By the Numbers
By the Numbers
Five Key Facts About the Electric Power Industry Workforce
Each day, the men and women of the electric power industry deliver the safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy that powers our nation’s economy and our way of life. The electric power industry is committed to attracting and supporting employees who embrace the challenges of rapidly changing technologies and the expanding expectations of customers. 
  1. Employment: About 1 in every 20 jobs in America depends on the electric power industry. Each job directly provided by the industry supports an additional 1.7 jobs in our communities.
     
  2. Infrastructure investment: The significant annual investments by the electric power industry to build smarter energy infrastructure and to continue the transition to even cleaner electric generation sources are expected to exceed $100 billion annually for the next several years. M.J. Bradley & Associates estimates that this level of investment provides more than 1.4 million jobs.
     
  3. Job quality: In 2015, median annual wages for electric power industry employee jobs were $73,000—double the national median. 
     
  4. Partnerships: Through the Center for Energy Workforce Development and partnerships with educational institutions, public workforce systems, and organized labor, the industry is working to create long-term employment solutions for a skilled, diverse workforce in the future.
     
  5. Supporting our veterans: The electric power industry has a long history of employing military veterans because they have the training and skills that match those required for technical, engineering, support, and leadership positions in energy companies. Military veteran hiring accounted for more than 10 percent of new hires in the industry as of year-end 2014. 
Jobs in Energy
Jobs in Energy
What Others Are Saying
Leaders in the electric power industry and in organized labor are talking about M.J. Bradley & Associates’ new report on the electric power industry’s workforce and economic contributions. 
 
“Our industry is so vital to America’s economy, supporting more than 7 million jobs,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Often, jobs in our industry fill a societal gap, helping to break the cycle of poverty in many communities. As our society continues to become more dependent on electricity, we are creating long-term solutions to address the need for a skilled, diverse workforce to meet the future demands of our customers.”
 
“The nation’s more than 2,000 community-owned, not-for-profit public power utilities are proud to be a part of an industry that provides millions of jobs to hardworking Americans,” said American Public Power Association President and CEO Sue Kelly. “Community-owned public power utilities provide local jobs that keep dollars in their communities, supporting families and representing a significant piece of our American economy.”
 
“Affordable and reliable electricity is the heartbeat of the American economy and is essential to the nation’s economic growth,” said National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson. “As not-for-profits owned by the members we serve, our broader purpose is to empower local communities to thrive. Co-ops are proud to continue recruiting top-tier talent from local communities as we work to meet tomorrow’s energy needs.”
 
“The electric power industry is a major driver of our economy, directly providing more than 2.7 million good jobs in communities across the nation,” said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “The IBEW is working closely with our management partners to maintain the best trained energy workforce in the nation so we as an industry can continue to support a healthy economy and good jobs.”
 
“The positive economic effects of the electric power industry are felt around the country, supporting middle-class families and their communities,” said Utility Workers Union of America President Mike Langford. “We’re proud to partner with the industry through our Power for America program to build one of the safest, most highly trained workforces in the nation.”
 
“The electric power industry is a key driver of the economy and jobs in America,” said North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey. “The industry’s infrastructure investments support jobs with strong wages and benefits for millions of Americans, including the men and women of the building trades.”
People in Power
People in Power
EEI and IBEW Honor America's Lineworkers
On July 10, EEI, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and electric companies across America honored our nation’s dedicated lineworkers who work tirelessly day and night, during storms and blue-sky days, to keep electricity flowing safely and reliably to homes and businesses.
 
“Every day our nation’s lineworkers install and implement the many innovative technologies that are improving grid reliability and resiliency to better serve our customers,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “You also see lineworkers hard at work in your communities restoring service in the wake of storms and other disasters. Their dedication and skill in the face of complex challenges should be applauded. These men and women truly deserve our recognition and appreciation.”
 
“Highly skilled lineworkers are critical to ensuring that all Americans have access to safe and reliable electricity,” said IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson. “On Lineworker Appreciation Day, we are pleased to honor these men and women and to voice our sincere appreciation for their commitment to their customers and their communities.” 
 
The electric power industry’s lineworkers make vital contributions to customers and communities across the United States. “Lineworkers play a critical role in powering our lives and improving grid security, reliability and resiliency,” Kuhn and Stephenson wrote in a joint op-ed in Inside Sources.  
 
Learn more about lineworkers with EEI’s infographic. See EEI’s recap of social media posts honoring lineworkers. 
Workforce Development
Workforce Development
Creating Pathways to Energy Careers
EEI is a partner in the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a nonprofit consortium of energy companies, their associations, contractors, and unions formed in 2006 to focus on the need to build a skilled workforce pipeline to meet future industry needs.  
 
CEWD has facilitated the creation of more than 30 State Energy Workforce Consortia that focus on developing an energy workforce tailored to the economic, demographic, and workforce requirements of individual states. CEWD also has developed the National Energy Education Network, a consortium of energy educators—universities, community colleges, and technical schools—that are sponsored by CEWD industry members to collaborate and share best practices for improving energy education. 
 
Working through CEWD, the electric power industry and its organized labor partners also have a number of initiatives to train military veterans seeking employment with energy companies. These include Troops to Energy Jobs, the Utility Industry Workforce Initiative, the Veterans Electrical Entry Program, and Helmets to Hardhats. Programs like these recognize that America’s veterans offer the leadership and technical skills needed to build and maintain smarter energy infrastructure to better serve customers. 
Energy Careers
Energy Careers
Above and Beyond, The Energy Industry’s Customer Service Representatives
“For energy companies, recruiting for customer service is critical to our long-term success,” writes Beth Reese, chair of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) and executive vice president and chief financial officer, Southern Company Gas, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives.
 
“By delivering an outstanding customer experience at every touchpoint, we increase customer engagement, retention, and growth. And employees who understand our customers and what they need have the potential to become future leaders for our companies.
 
“Through programs like Troops to Energy Jobs and resources like the Get Into Energy Career Pathways Roadmap, CEWD and its partners are at the forefront of creating the energy industry workforce of tomorrow—a workforce that understands the customers and communities it serves and is dedicated to going above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.”
 
Veterans in Energy
Veterans in Energy
Hiring Our Nation's Heroes
“More and more these days, we’re seeing military veterans putting on new uniforms—those of America’s energy companies,” writes Geisha Williams, president and CEO of PG&E Corporation and former chair of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), in Electric Perspectives. “Many soldiers and sailors say that their service doesn’t end after leaving the Armed Forces, but instead of protecting their nation, they now serve a vital and growing role in the energy industry, where their leadership, commitment to the mission, and pride in giving their best—as well as the advanced skills they developed while in uniform—are in constant demand. 
 
“The electric power industry has long been committed to hiring and retaining veterans and facilitating their entry into the exciting opportunities our industry offers. EEI launched Troops to Energy Jobs in 2011 under the leadership of then-EEI Chairman and Dominion Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Tom Farrell. Managed by CEWD, Troops to Energy Jobs connects veterans to rewarding energy careers. Another CEWD initiative—Veterans in Energy—provides transition, retention, and professional development assistance, as well as opportunities for outreach, mentoring, and support.”
 
What We're Reading
What We're Reading
Creating a Culture of Diversity
The electric power industry has been a leader in creating a diverse workforce for decades, but big changes are occurring in how the industry conceives this mission, executes it, and converts it to business success. Electric companies—particularly members of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD)—increasingly are creating overarching strategies to better inject the benefits of a diverse workforce into everyday corporate culture and business operations.
 
In this new world, diversity is more than an extension of human resources. The change is driven partly by what’s been learned through trial and error over 40 years of diversity efforts. It is now clear, for example, that recruiting and retaining women and minorities, especially in STEM fields, requires starting earlier and following through.
 
Delivering the Future
Delivering the Future
Electric Power Industry Employees Go the Extra Mile
Electric company employees are leaders and contributors in their communities in every corner of the country. Click below for three recent examples of electric company workers who are making a difference.
 
AEP Line Mechanics Awarded for Saving Child
While working on a transformer in Kingsport, TN, American Electric Power (AEP) lineworkers Brandon Bradley, Eddie Kilgore, and Terry Roberts quickly responded to a nearby automobile crash. The crash had trapped a four-year-old girl within debris and injured her severely. With the help of other bystanders, the lineworkers were able to free the girl from the wreckage and keep her still until EMTs arrived. 
 
PG&E Lineworker Tirelessly Serves His Community
In addition to taking care of his responsibilities as a lineworker for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Jeff Gomes of Orland, CA, volunteers his time at the local volunteer fire department. Because of his selflessness, Gomes was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service, which recognizes extraordinary public service at the national and local levels. 
 
Duke Energy Lineworkers Save Florida Man’s Life
After observing a man having a cardiac event, Duke Energy lineworkers Justin Barr, Chris Damewood, Jesse Ginley, and Stephen Shaffer all jumped into action. By administering CPR, using a defibrillator, and contacting emergency personnel, the lineworkers were pivotal in sustaining the man until EMTs arrived at the scene—ultimately saving his life.
 
Read more stories of electric company workers’ leadership on EEI’s Delivering the Future website.
Future Focus
Future Focus
Our Policy Platform
America’s electric companies are working to advance public policies that encourage job creation, spur economic growth, and support the development and deployment of smarter energy infrastructure that is critical for America’s energy future. 
 
Public policies should:
  • promote investment in smarter energy infrastructure to keep energy bills affordable and predictable for customers;
  • simplify and speed up the process for permitting and siting transmission, natural gas, and renewable energy infrastructure;
  • help to strengthen the energy grid’s resilience against cyber and physical security threats and natural disasters;
  • support a balanced, diverse, domestic, and reliable energy mix;
  • support pro-growth tax reform that encourages investments in critical energy infrastructure and creates jobs; and
  • allow America’s electric companies to provide the energy solutions that customers want. 
By advocating for policies that advance these goals, electric companies are creating a powerful energy future for all Americans. 
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The Electric Power Industry Supports More Than 7 Million American Jobs
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