Energy industry looking for replacements for retiring workers

It's estimated that up to half the current utility employees will retire within 15 years.

INDIANAPOLIS - Some 259,000 Indiana workers are looking for jobs, but the energy industry says it can't find enough workers to fill today's job openings and start training them for even more jobs in the future. Mid-level manager jobs are expected to open a few years from now.

The energy industry in Indiana, mostly power and natural gas utilities, estimates that half of their current workers will retire in the next 5 to 15 years. 

It takes several years to train replacements.  Those replacements are already difficult to find.

These are entry level positions. A high school diploma is a minimum requirement. Starting pay is around $30,000 with benefits and training. With experience and additional education, a technical certificate or associate's degree, the pay scale more than doubles.

The Indiana Energy Consortium, a group of energy companies and associated organizations, says that for every 500 people applying for jobs, only 11 can pass the basic skills test which includes reading comprehension and math skills, and move on to the interview process.

Lynn Moore with the Energy Consortium says the need is great.

"I would say urgent and something that should be consistent about approaching and not putting on the back burner," she said. "I think now we are looking at people to interview and put through the process to fill those shoes, fill the boots, if you will, for the industry pipeline.  What we are finding is that we are having trouble finding qualified candidates to replace those positions."

The Energy Consortium and Ivy Tech have already started working on solutions on worker shortage.

Learn more about how to qualify or apply for a job.