New York City is home to one of the largest jobs sectors in the US, but it’s hard to find an electrician in a city without being at least partially self-employed.
That’s the takeaway from a new study that looks at the employment history of the city’s 3.4 million electricians.
The city has a lot of work to do to get people back into the industry, says Emily Jelinek, co-founder of the National Association of Electricians.
“I’m pretty confident that the number of jobs in the industry is growing,” she says.
“We have to do a better job of teaching people that it’s not something that’s just for the rich.”
To understand how the industry’s in the vanguard, it’s worth examining how it started.
Electrician jobs are the most common occupation in the United States, with nearly 40% of the US population working in them.
While this makes sense, there’s also a lot more that goes into finding those jobs, says Lizzie Kopp, a staff economist at the American Association of University Women.
There’s the upfront cost, which ranges from $40,000 to $60,000, which can make it more difficult to get an interview, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
There are also barriers to getting hired: there are a lot fewer apprenticeships in the country, and most apprenticeships only last one year.
And most jobs are remote, meaning that if a candidate is willing to work for a company in the area, they can get a pay raise, but the pay scale is lower than in many cities.
That’s partly because of a lack of qualified candidates, but also because there are some rules about where apprentices can work.
Electrician apprentices can only work in a job that is within 30 miles of their home.
And if they want to move to another city, they need to go through an approval process, says Kopp.
“They’re really in the dark.”
As the industry has expanded and more jobs have been created, more people have started their own electrician firms, and many more are starting their own businesses, like the ones I spoke to last week.
But the jobs are still not as plentiful as they were in the 1980s, and it’s difficult to find a job, especially in New York, says Jelineks.
She wants to see more apprenticeships and apprenticeships for other industries.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to make things easier for electricians, but Jelineck thinks more needs to be done.
“I don’t think we’ve reached the point yet where we have a workforce where people are willing to do it,” she tells me.
“What we need to do is to get more apprentices and apprenticeship opportunities for electrician workers in the cities, not just in New England.”
This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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