Critical Careers: Electrical lineman shortage

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:25 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – There’s a power drain in one of the most mission-critical industries in the country.

Qualified electrical lineman keep the lights on across America. They work for utility and energy companies to maintain, repair and install power lines.

But this year, there are an estimated 21,500 lineman job openings across the country. And demand is expected to grow by 8.5 % in the next four years.

As I’ve been reporting each month in my series Critical Careers, this is just one more industry facing a serious worker shortage.

So what’s happening?

Baby Boomers and Generation X Lineman are beginning to exit the utility workforce.

There’s also a decrease in enrollment in technical and vocational trade schools. And all of this is in the midst of rapidly increasing number of transmission projects as the government and utility companies strengthen and modernize the electric grid.

Even with these challenges, some lineman I caught up with recently say there are many positives about the job.

If you get accepted into an apprenticeship program, you can begin to work as a paid apprentice under an experienced lineman, called a journeyman line worker. They will teach you the knowledge and skills you need to pass your apprenticeship which takes about 7500-hundred hours of hands-on work and training in most states.

Many in Minnesota get a journeyman salary between $93,000 to $114,000 annually.