UpSmith announces impact of electrician upskilling initiative in Memphis with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee at GSV Leaders Summit in Nashville
[Nashville, TN] Today, UpSmith, Inc., a Dallas-based startup solving the skilled labor crisis, and Pyramid Electric, Inc. (PEI), a Memphis-based family-owned and operated electrical contracting firm specializing in electrical construction services across west Tennessee, released a case study highlighting their impact accelerating new skilled worker careers.
The release comes as UpSmith Founder & CEO Wyatt Smith hosts a fireside chat today with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee at the GSV Leaders Summit in Nashville. “The Tennessee Template: A Blueprint for Solving America’s Skilled Worker Crisis” will focus on the state’s success deploying public/private partnerships, targeted investments in career and technical education, and employer-centric policies for growing jobs of the future.
In every corner of the economy, America is not producing skilled tradespeople fast enough: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly one million job openings in U.S. construction and manufacturing in September 2023. Worse yet, Gen Z talent shows declining interest in skilled trades, posing challenges as 45% of the skilled construction workforce is over 45 years old and many are nearing retirement in the next decade.
UpSmith’s technology expands workforce productivity for employers with software for upskilling new technicians, maximizing revenue in the field, and rewarding employers for investments in workforce. In doing so, UpSmith meaningfully improves skilled worker experiences by creating valuable on-ramps for people to join and thrive in skilled trades.
UpSmith Founder and CEO Wyatt Smith said: “UpSmith launched in Memphis several months ago in partnership with the West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and ForgeNow to deploy an innovative model for attacking the skilled worker shortage. Given Governor Bill Lee’s encouragement on workforce innovation in Tennessee, we’re proud to share results on impact at Pyramid Electric with him at the GSV Leaders Summit today.”
In 15 months, Pyramid Electric’s investment in sourcing and training 14 new apprentices with UpSmith enabled the firm to increase its skilled labor force by more than 10%. As a result, PEI has been able to more fully staff projects: the firm estimates UpSmith apprentices added over 7.8% to net profit during the period, nearly doubling the firm’s investment in hiring and training them in just over a year.
Edgar Andrade is one top performing electrician. Previously a quick service restaurant worker, he realized his aptitude for technical problem-solving and saw PEI’s program as the perfect launchpad. Edgar is now on his way to becoming a master electrician.
PEI apprentice Edgar Andrade said: “I chose a career with PEI in the skilled trades to provide a better life for my wife and two daughters. The sky’s the limit and I’ve grown tremendously in twelve months since applying with UpSmith.”
Apprentices like Edgar have grown incomes by more than 30% on average since starting the program: For every $1 invested in the up-front eight week training accelerator, apprentices have earned over $8, netting over $600,000 in wages to date.
PEI Vice President Brian Haines said: “Working with UpSmith, we have been able to tap a new group of apprentices who are driving a major impact. Our bet on the new generation will pay off many times over, both for our company and for our industry, and we invite others to join us in helping build the future by scaling this effort.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said: “Leading companies select Tennessee because of our skilled workforce. This unique partnership with Pyramid Electric and UpSmith is changing lives by enabling Tennesseans to skill up and secure meaningful work. We thank them for their innovation and investment.”
West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) President Amber Harris said: “UpSmith offers our members a way to expand their workforce to address labor shortages. We are excited to see the impact of this technology on Pyramid Electric’s growth.”
GSV Ventures Managing Partner Deborah Quazzo said: “GSV Leaders Summit brings together innovative companies like UpSmith with policymakers like Gov. Bill Lee to outline opportunities for the future. We invested in UpSmith because we believe in the power of disruptive technology to change lives for the better, and we’re happy to share the impact of their work in Tennessee as we convene this summit in Nashville.”
About UpSmith: UpSmith’s mission is to address America’s skilled labor crisis by expanding the supply of skilled workers. The company expands workforce productivity with technology to recruit and retain skilled workers, boost productivity, and reward employers for their investments in training. UpSmith’s initial focus is addressing the nearly one million unfilled skilled construction and manufacturing jobs in the United States.
About Pyramid Electric, Inc.: Based in Memphis, TN, Pyramid Electric, Inc. (PEI) is a family-owned and operated electrical contracting firm specializing in commercial, institutional, industrial and medical construction services across west Tennessee.