Change the Electrical Apprentice to Journeyman Ratio in Oklahoma

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As an electrical contractor, I am requesting a change in the law regarding apprentice to journeyman ratios. Currently the State of Oklahoma ratio is 2:1. I am seeking an increase to 4:1. One electrical journeyman for every four electrical apprentices.

The ratios of our surrounding states are as follows:

 Arkansas 3:1

Colorado 3:1

 

Texas no restrictions

As contractors we are experiencing a shortage of electrical journeymen. As the number of available electrical journeymen has declined in our state due to attrition or simply leaving the work force the need for these workers has not declined.

As the need for electricians continues to grow in the state of Oklahoma, the training requirements do not change. As you are aware, electrical apprentices must train for a minimum of four years to get the 8,000 hours of training needed to become a journeyman.

Currently, in our industry we are seeing approximately a 15+ year age gap between journeyman and apprentices. This gap is widening which means we will see an even greater shortage of journeyman soon. As these numbers continue to decline so will our ability to do business. According to a study I found by EMSI (Economic Modeling) in 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older, according to EMSI, and 18.6 percent were between the ages of 55 and 64. Further, according to their study 65% of electricians nationally are over 45 years old. Our industry is the oldest among the skilled trades.

The change I am seeking will allow us to begin training the next generation of electricians and work to close the immense gap we are facing.

Amending the current law will enable Oklahoma to not only be a leader but more importantly an amendment to the law will double the number of jobs, immediately making available over 14,000 jobs to those who desire to become electricians. This is good for the industry, this is good for the state, and it is good for the economy.

I have been working on this with Rep. Glen Mulready, although all indicators in the beginning pointed to action from our legislators, it now appears to have stalled.

We need as many signatures from concerned business owners to our state legislators before the 25th of May. This is the end of the current legislative session. If we cannot make this change happen this session, it will not be addressed until next year (2018).

 Also, please contact your local representative to share your concerns regarding this issue. If you do not know who your local legislator is, use this link: http://www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx

Together we can make change happen.



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