Installing an electric vehicle charger? Call an electrician. Hooking up solar panels? Call an electrician. Switching to an electric heat pump? … You get the idea.
To meet its clean energy goals, the U.S. will need more electricians than it has today — by some estimates, about a million more in the next 10 years.
And one veteran of the trade says there’s a largely untapped pool of potential candidates.
Hicks: “Only 2% of all the electricians in the United States are women.”
That’s Tonya Hicks. About 25 years ago, she became the first female journeyman electrician in her local Mississippi chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
When she started, she had no women to mentor her. She encountered sexism on job sites and was a single mom working long hours.
But she was determined to succeed. She started her own electrical contracting company called Power Solutions, which she still runs today.
She says that as the clean energy transition creates new jobs, there’s an opportunity for more female electricians to get started.
And she encourages them to connect with and learn from women who have already blazed the trail.
Hicks: “Relationships are everything. And so if it’s something you want to do, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media