If you’re looking for a meaningful career, look first at your electric cooperative. That’s because there will be plenty of job openings at co-ops in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and nationally in the next few years.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association tracks jobs, job openings and prospective retirements at its more than 900 co-ops in 48 states. The most recent NRECA data, from its 2020 workforce survey, shows opportunity across a wide range of fields.

In Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, nearly one-third of the co-op workforce is either past the normal retirement date or will hit it within the next five years. That includes both the electric cooperatives in the three states, and the various trade groups that work with them on advocacy, training and education.

In all, 1,157 employees in VMD are past or approaching their retirement date, according to NRECA. That’s slightly ahead of the national trends, where 22,528 employees (28.1% of the workforce) is at or near retirement.

Co-ops have made a concerted effort in recent years to recruit younger workers into the line trade field to replace veteran lineworkers. The Power Line Worker Training Program that VMD co-ops support through Southside Virginia Community College is one difference-maker.

Still, expect more than 80 lineworker openings regionally, and 2,870 nationally, in the coming years.

Other key fields where jobs will open up include engineering, operations, IT and member services. VMD co-ops expect nearly 420 openings in those fields, as the retirement rate is topping 35 percent in most cases. Nearly 8,000 such jobs will open up nationally.

Learn more by exploring our Powerful Careers site or reach out to your local co-op for information on openings.