Reaching the Next Generation of Electrical Utility Workers

As New River Electrical celebrates the retirement of many of the wonderful employee owners who have grown with us over the years, our leadership has set their sights on the next generation of electrical utility workers. Ryan Marshall, VP of Substation in Ohio, has taken a relationship-building approach to finding talented young laborers at local high schools in the area. 

“I was approached by a few of my friends who work in the local school district to come give students some guidance about the labor opportunities available in the area,” say Ryan.” “We’re a ‘Panther Partner’ and we go to their career fair every year and show the kids what it’s like to work in this trade.”

While Ryan may not be a human resources representative, he thought it was important to take on this initiative as someone who can directly relate to the students. 

“I live in the rural market that we’re targeting and think it’s a lot more effective to hear about this opportunity straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,” says Ryan. “I’m a blue collar guy who has been on the front lines and I know how to relate to these young people who know what it’s like to put in a long day of hard labor.”

Ryan believes the best way to earn their respect and interest in the work is by building a real relationship with them by taking the time to sit down and talk with them. While most industries perceive finding talented labor as a challenge, he has found that many young people in the rural markets are actually searching for these opportunities but don’t know where to start. 

“As a corporation of our size in the market, many of these students have relatives or family friends who work for New River Electrical and can already see the benefits of working with us,” he adds. “But when we make the effort to go out and talk to them ourselves, it makes all the difference.”

Ryan attended his first Career Day at New Lexington High School in May of 2019 and is already working on planning to attend another one in early 2020. He also plans to work with surrounding area high schools in Morgan County and Thornville to add their Career Days to his calendar. 

So far, they have hired four talented young men right after graduating in June. They’re currently working together on a physical hardening project, building a security fence around an extra high voltage substation for a local utility company.  We are proud to be able to offer these young talented workers a fast track to a secure trade job, membership to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, future employee ownership opportunities, and a healthy retirement.