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The Role Women Play in the Power Industry

In times of industry change, having a more diverse and gender-balanced workforce is an advantage. With the growing number of technical and economic changes affecting the power generation, transmission and distribution industries, the value of women in the workforce has never been greater.

According to a report conducted by M.J. Bradley & Associates, the electric power industry provides nearly 2.7 million jobs in communities across the United States, including jobs held by employees of electric cooperatives like Dakota Electric. Your cooperative comprises 31% women, slightly higher than the national average of women in the electric power industry.

Over the last decade, more training and opportunities for women have developed across the industry, creating long-term solutions and driving employment for a skilled and diverse future workforce. Today, there are also more efforts to encourage girls and young women to consider science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education from a young age. Why is this important? “Women in STEM jobs earn 33% more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men,” according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy website.

The electric power industry generates many excellent jobs in the United States and provides employment to a significant demographic and educational range — from high schools to trade schools and colleges — and for most skill sets. Dakota Electric offers a variety of careers, like system operators, engineers, computer programmers, technician electricians, accountants, communication specialists, energy and member services representatives, human resources and many more.

As electric cooperatives watch increasing numbers of older workers retire, they are left with a shrinking pool of skilled workers. To meet this growing challenge, a number of educational programs are offered to help younger workers take advantage of career opportunities in the electric power industry. Since a majority of our workforce is skilled labor, we work with Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College to provide apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training and continuing education. Our focus on STEM education is an important part of our future.

Your cooperative is committed to supporting its employees today and to building tomorrow’s diverse energy workforce. Having a skilled and diverse workforce is essential to providing safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for Dakota Electric members.