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Recruiting skilled workers

M&O must replace an aging workforce from a limited qualified pool.

As throughout the nation, APS’ M&O is also facing an aging workforce that is getting ready to retire and a limited qualified pool to draw from in replacing them. Overall, the District easily competes with outside contractors (private industry) when the entire salary package is taken into consideration. Its generous employee and family health plan and permanent retirement pension plan is second to none. However, many job candidates will focus exclusively on today’s take-home pay in making job/work choices. In addition to losing these licensed tradesmen to local companies that offer a lesser total salary package for a higher hourly rate, HVAC technicians, plumbers, carpenters and other talented technicians are also leaving New Mexico for neighboring states with abundant construction and job activity that is lacking in Albuquerque, thus reducing the available workforce. The timing of losing highly valued tenured workers couldn’t be worse and an issue management, as well as the industry, is grappling with every day.

This issue is not new to the 2015-16 fiscal year. District square footage, expenses, and work orders steadily surge upward, while the budget and employee count steadily plunge downward. Every year M&O has integrated new cost and manpower inventiveness in navigating this contrary landscape of higher mountains to climb with fewer resources to get there. And the indispensable emphasis on increasing preventive maintenance makes for an even steeper climb.