As we recognize Infrastructure Week in Washington and in the states, America’s electric companies, organized labor, and policymakers join together to encourage continued investments in a smarter energy infrastructure and the workforce that supports it.
The electric power industry underpins all sectors of the economy. For example, EEI’s member companies contribute $880 billion—or 5 percent—to America’s total GDP, and invest more than $100 billion each year to build smarter energy infrastructure and to transition to even cleaner generation sources.
Smarter energy infrastructure is part of a broader transformation to benefit customers. It helps keep energy affordable for customers; it helps strengthen the energy grid’s resiliency against cyber and physical security threats, as well as natural disasters; it ensures that energy can get where it is needed, when it is needed; and it enables electric companies to provide the energy solutions that customers want.
Of course, critical to building smarter energy infrastructure is the workforce needed to build it. As a whole, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs. And, the industry generates many of the best jobs in America—in traditional and emerging areas. Many of the individuals who build infrastructure projects are members of organized labor. And, many of those who support infrastructure projects are policymakers who promote job growth.
Together, we are advocating for long-term solutions to address the ongoing need for a skilled, diverse workforce now and in the future. For example, apprenticeship programs supply qualified workers to accomplish capital-intensive projects. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association, sponsor apprenticeships across the United States through the electrical training ALLIANCE, spending roughly $180 million a year training the organized electrical construction workforce.