America's skills gap is creating challenges in the electricians' industry, which is expected to have a labor shortage of about 60,000 workers by 2026, according to one CEO of one tool manufacturing company.
In order to fill the surplus of jobs, he started a program four years ago to convince students that becoming an electrician is the way to go. It has become so successful that it brought the entire industry together.
“What started out as more of a marketing tool for ideal industries, is actually transformed into an industry-wide marketing tool,” said Ideal Industries CEO Jim James to FOX Business’ Ashley Webster on Friday. “The first year we started this competition, it started with about 2,500 participants. We’re up to over 100,000 this year and next year we're expecting to be over 150,000 competitors.”
Convincing young people and parents to skip out on student debt accumulated from acquiring a four-year college degree is key, he said. There are about 44,000,000 families with over a half trillion of college debt right now.
“Through this process we have actually had a lot of the children of a lot of these electricians have now decided to go down that career path,” he said, adding that there are plans to expand the program into high schools.
“What we're trying to do is also get to the parents. We're trying to help them, convince them and show them that becoming a professional trade is a really good career move.”
According to James, a starting salary for an electrician is around $40,000 per year, while owning a business has the potential to deliver a six-figure salary.