Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids is trying to address a shortage of workers in the electrical industry in the state and across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says available jobs will grow by nine percent in the next seven years — and that could make the shortages worse.
Kirkwood Dean of Industrial Technologies, Dan Martin, says Baby boomers are retiring faster than younger people are getting hired. A simple online search shows hundreds of open electrician jobs across eastern Iowa.
Martin tells KCRG TV they let students know that some companies are willing to pay extra to fill the demand.
He says there’s potential to earn even more.
Kirkwood faculty say they work hard to recruit students into the electrician field. They hold STEM camps to talk to them at an early age.
Student David Jenner John tells KCRG TV it can be rewarding.
The college is also working to recruit more women. Right now, women only make up about 20 percent of the people in their technical programs. They want to get it to about 50 percent. Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo offers apprenticeship training with local businesses. That can lead to some of their students being hired by those employers.