A 21st Century Action Plan for Electrical Contractors and Their Workforce

Electrical contractors rely on a highly skilled and motivated workforce to maintain a competitive advantage and meet market demands. Having a full understanding of workforce issues and a grasp of the future marketplace is central to successful business planning. Strategic planning provides the focus and direction for the activities and allocation of resources in any business enterprise including development of the workforce. NECA and the IBEW need to see the future similarly for the workforce to be available to meet the marketplace. Contractors must critically examine themselves to decide what their specific action plan for the future should be and where they may need to invest singularly in workforce development.

Labor and management must work together to further the electrical contracting industry to maintain their competitiveness with the non-union sector. For many NECA contractors, this means working with local union representatives to enhance the future of the electrical contracting industry by sharing their vision and expressing their needs for training. In other cases, non-union contractors face the same challenges but without the strength that unions have to train, unite and mobilize the workforce.

In a different context, the future of electrical contracting does not have to be taking away business from other electrical contractors (ECs). Rather, it will depend upon the ability of some contractors to develop new markets while expanding their current market bases. Investment and risk are inherent issues for those contractors who will be the leaders in these new markets.

The purpose of this project was to examine the future systematically and provide general guidance to ECs and a process for visioning their company’s future. Because each company is different, each action and strategic plan that is developed will also be unique. Commonalities in the process can be shared to benefit the entire industry through interaction with the IBEW. Companies can also develop a unique action plan with the model for company-specific strategic planning in this report.



James E. Rowings
Mark Federle


Iowa State University

Publication Date:

February 1998

Format & Size:

Soft cover; 45 pages

Index Number:


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