DTE Energy is making an appeal to high school and college students to come work for the utility after completing their education.

The company, along with Consumers Energy, faces a workforce shortage in the coming decade.

“It’s a well-known fact that our workforce is aging, especially in our industry,” DTE President and COO Jerry Norcia said. “I think the average age is mid-to-late 40s.”

He said that means 50 percent of DTE’s workforce likely will retire over the next 10 years.

“That is all sectors, office roles, like engineers, accountants, analysts, lawyers and IT professionals, and in the field, pipe fitters, welders and linemen,” Norcia said.

Today, Michigan boasts nearly 97,000 energy jobs, and the Michigan Workforce Development Agency estimates the energy cluster to grow by 9.4 percent through 2024.

Approximately 1,800 utility jobs open every year in the state.

DTE employs 10,000 workers, 4,000 in office roles and 6,000 workers in the field, as well as several hundred linemen who work as contractors and 700 tree trimmers.

Norcia said the company is looking to create a pipeline of talent in all of these areas.

“We will be looking for professionals and skilled trades,” he said.

To fill these future jobs, DTE has partnered with Consumers Energy, as well as with many colleges and universities in Michigan, to ensure students know about careers in energy and graduate with the skills they need to enter those jobs.

To read more of this story, pick up this week's edition of the Grand Rapids Business Journal or visit their website.