Utility Jobs -- Bright Spot in Hiring

Utility jobs are a bright spot in hiring. The pay is about $56,000 a year. Those in depressed fields such as real estate are finding stable employment in this solid industry. And, in some states such as Connecticut, federal stimulus money is helping match the utility jobs with the unemployed. All that good news comes from the Center for Energy Workforce Development, reports Stephen Singer at HUFFINGTON POST.

Between 2009 and 2015, about 42 percent of current workers in a consortium of electric, natural gas, and nuclear utilities will be retiring, according to the Center. Utility jobs tend to be physically demanding so the average worker leaves at age 58, after 25 years of service. Right now, the average utility worker is 50 years old. This is one field in which Baby Boomers aren't hanging on.

There's more. The utility industry is pulling out all stops to recruit and train its labor force. For example, Florida's Gulf Power is partnering with a high school to offer courses which introduce students to the opportunities of utility jobs, plus provide training and mentoring. Gulf Power even pops for the required exam.

The challenge? Being able to make the switch from office work to climbing poles. You might call that: the new Blue Collar Chic.

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