The busy local real estate market fueled a notable increase in residential electrical work for the region’s union electrical contractors in 2022. Combined with a record-manhours workload on the commercial side, the NECA-IBEW Electricians wore through a few toolbelts last year.
In 2023, while the residential side will still remain steady, any type of interest rate-related dip should more than be made up for with a strong manhours forecast in commercial work.
“With all the renovations and service upgrades being done during the buying and selling of homes, combined with a healthy amount of new construction, the spike in residential work was a welcomed one we haven’t seen in a while,” said Scott Satterlee, business manager, IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown.
Battery plant leads the way
Ultium Cells in Lordstown continued to be the primary driver of industrial electrical work, keeping hundreds of union electricians working steady, and more work remains there in 2023 and beyond.
“The level of economic development in that North Jackson-Lordstown corridor – all of which requires significant electrical work – will fuel our region for years to come,” said Todd Ambrose, business manager of IBEW Local 573 in Warren. “Our members take a lot of pride in building structures of that magnitude, and they’re uniquely skilled to perform the work.”
Momentum should continue in 2023 with major local projects ongoing or scheduled at:
- The second Lordstown energy plant
- Foxconn in Lordstown
- Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Department in Boardman
- Salem Community Hospital in Columbiana
- 20 Federal Place demolition and a Huntington Bank building renovation in Youngstown
- Meijer new construction in Niles
- Youngstown Orthopaedic Medical Building in Boardman
- Phase 1 of the state’s electric vehicle charging station infrastructure buildout
Infrastructure bill leads to work for local electricians
Growth trends for skilled electrical work are evident nationwide, and they’re playing out locally with many of NECA-IBEW Electricians’ projects.
“The strong outlook is due in large part to projects stemming from the infrastructure legislation, the growing adoption of electric vehicles, expansion of broadband, improvements to the national grid, and growing demand for sustainable energy projects like advanced nuclear, clean hydrogen, solar and wind,” said Tom Lipka, executive director, Mahoning Valley National Electrical Contractors Association.
Electric vehicle charging station work is projected to grow significantly this year, and in preparation for that, the local electrical training centers have been running certification courses for journeymen to be qualified to perform that work.
Now’s the time for a career as an electrician
In order to keep up with workforce demands, both the NECA and IBEW national organizations are urging local chapters to grow their ranks, and to do so equitably so that new electricians reflect the makeup of their communities.
The local associations recruit and hire apprentices year-round and regularly visit schools, exhibit at career fairs and organize a heavy presence at the Skilled Trades Expo in Canfield. Further, they actively seek out experienced electricians to join the ranks, as well.
“The work is here now and for the foreseeable future. The time is right to consider a career in the union electrical trade,” Satterlee said. “Earn a great living in an extremely marketable trade while you learn from the best electricians and contractors in the industry.”