Top 10 Reasons to Consider a Co-op Career
Wherever you are, odds are there’s an electric co-op nearbyBy Justin LaBerge
There are many ways to earn a paycheck, but some are more rewarding than others. Here are 10 reasons to consider joining the electric cooperative family.
The electricity industry is at the leading edge of a global energy revolution. Rapid advances in renewable generation, energy storage, and microgrid and smart grid technologies are changing the way we generate and use electricity. If you work at an electric cooperative, you can be part of this once-in-a-lifetime industry transformation.
2. Business on a human scale
Electric co-ops hold themselves to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity while still maintaining a close-knit, family friendly working environment. Decisions are made locally by boards of directors and managers who know employees by name, not halfway across the country in some corporate headquarters. Their smaller size and local control also gives co-ops more flexibility to innovate and try new ideas to improve the service they provide.
3. Principles, not profit
When you work for a not-for-profit electric cooperative, you’re not helping some Wall Street investors get richer. You’re working to serve your friends, family and neighbors who collectively own the cooperative.
4. Support sustainability
Advances in power plant efficiencies and renewable energy — including community solar installations — are helping us generate power in more sustainable, environmentally friendly ways. Other technology advances, like electric vehicles, next-generation HVAC systems and smart thermostats are creating efficiencies on the consumer side of the meter.
5. National reach
America’s 900-plus electric cooperatives serve 47 states and 56 percent of our nation’s landmass. So whether you want to stay in your hometown or explore another part of the country, odds are good that there will be an electric cooperative nearby.
6. Retirement security
It might seem a long way off, but we all need to plan for retirement. Local electric co-ops are part of a national network that manages sophisticated retirement benefit options.
There are no guarantees in life, but some bets are safer than others. Electricity is the lifeblood that keeps our society humming along, and electronics play an increasingly critical role in our daily lives. As long there’s a need for electricity, we’ll need workers to ensure it is safe, reliable and affordable.
8. Job diversity
You may be most familiar with your co-op’s lineworkers, and there will always be a need for the technical skills required to maintain the power grid. But co-ops draw from a vast array of other skillsets, including engineering, finance and accounting, communications and customer service.
9. Join a global movement
As a member of the co-op family, you’re part of something much larger than yourself. The cooperative movement represents a human-centered, ethically driven way of doing business. More than 250 million people around the world earn their living working in cooperatives, and the cooperative economy generates approximately $2.5 trillion in global economic activity each year.
10. Build a stronger community
Safe, reliable and affordable energy is critical to the health and prosperity of a community. Electric cooperatives are also dedicated to strengthening their communities through other ways, such as scholarships, and loan and grant programs for rural economic development to keep the future bright.
To learn more about a cooperative career, contact your local electric co-op.
About the AuthorJustin LaBerge writes for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.