YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – 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-man-hours 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 man-hours forecast in commercial work.
NECA-IBEW Electricians is composed of IBEW Local 64 of Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 of Warren and signatory electrical contractors in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties.
“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,” says Scott Satterlee, business manager, IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown.
Ultium Cells in Lordstown continued to be the primary driver of industrial electrical work, keeping hundreds of union electricians working steadily. 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,” says Todd Ambrose, business manager of IBEW Local 573 in Warren.
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 Huntington Bank building renovation in Youngstown.
- Meijer new construction in Niles.
- Youngstown Orthopaedic building in Boardman.
“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,” says Tom Lipka, executive director, Mahoning Valley National Electrical Contractors Association.
Electric vehicle charging station work is projected to grow significantly this year. In preparation for that, the local electrical training centers have been running certification courses for journeymen to be qualified to perform that work.
To keep up with workforce demands, the NECA and IBEW national organizations are urging local chapters to enlarge their ranks so that new electricians reflect the makeup of their communities.
The local associations recruit and hire apprentices year-round and visit schools, exhibit at career fairs and the annual Skilled Trades Expo in Canfield. Further, they actively seek 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 says. “Earn a great living in a marketable trade while you learn from the best electricians and contractors in the industry.”