NAED Chairwoman Maureen Barsema Speaks to High School Students

NAED Chairwoman Maureen Barsema Speaks to High School Students

One of the key issues facing electrical distribution is recruiting, retaining and knowledge sharing with the next generation of our workforce. The fact is, many kids in high school and college are just not aware of the countless opportunities in this industry. NAED has taken an aggressive approach when it comes to reaching out to these students, including hiring a talent recruiting and retention specialist to help the industry in this area.

Recently, NAED Chairwoman Maureen Barsema took a different approach to recruiting by inviting a group of high school students for a tour. Here is her observation on how it went:

I thought I would share our recent recruiting efforts with an Advanced Construction class. This class is made up of pupils who are seniors who have to earn their way into the class. They build a model home in the classroom and take their learning on site to build an actual home that will be provided to the underprivileged. The teacher works with a builder who generals the job. The builder connects with the sub-contractors for the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. They each take time with the kids to show them on-site, real life trade work The cool thing is that all of this is done on volunteered time.

The agenda started with the “What is an electrical distributor?” video clip (created by NAED). I then went into a pitch for NAED, explained what NAED is all about and highlighted the education offering. I continued with a pitch for Revere/BJ Electric and then we went on a building tour. After the tour, we let the group walk out with Revere/BJE promo items and encouraged them to remember us as they plan for their future careers.

It was one of those “feel good” days in our effort to recruit people to work on the construction side of our business. I think we made a good connection (according to the teacher and all the thank you’s we received). I feel talking to kids at the high school level is critical to our industry’s growth. We are also working on building out a construction apprenticeship program (we already have one on the industrial side). I hope to add this to the overall company pitch the next time we take this show on the road.


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