Tapping the talent of the next generation

By Kathy Hill

It’s estimated that, over the next five years, approximately 16 percent of National Grid’s 16,000 U.S. employees will retire. As well as replacing retiring employees, the company hires for attrition and business growth, having added an estimated 1,800 employees in 2016. But there are many more ways the company actively anticipates its need to ensure a strong future workforce.

The latest example is National Grid’s first-ever Trades Summer Camp, held in August. Designed to highlight the many energy careers that do not require a four-year degree, the jam-packed, three-day event attracted more than 30 high school students from the Syracuse City School District.

Hearing National Grid employees relate their own experiences, and taking part in career expos and hands-on activities, the students learned about energy safety, substations, natural gas delivery, meters and more. They explored company utility vehicles and tried on personal protective gear. They took field trips to the Fenner Wind Farm and the IBEW Local 43 apprentice training facility in Clay. The students also learned about careers in plumbing, electricity and carpentry, in partnership with Syracuse area minority-owned businesses. By the event’s end, they’d even competed in a robotics competition with a robot they assembled themselves.

“National Grid is committed to building local talent to become the next generation of the energy workforce,” said Timothy Graham, National Grid vice president of Customer Meter Services for New York. “Our partnership with the Dunbar Center to offer the Trades Summer Camp is a great example of the type of program we like to support to help high school students consider careers in the trades industry and STEM.”

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