Developing Tomorrow’s Workforce – Today

Author: Rich Nolan
Developing Tomorrow’s Mining Workforce - today

The summer is winding down. Going back to school is a focus for many of us. It also provides me and the National Mining Association (NMA) with the perfect opportunity to spotlight some promising careers in the mining industry, as well as the education needed to fill these roles.

Did you know that the average mining salary is over $85,000 per year, higher than the national average of $61,900? And as technology continues to advance alongside the rapidly increasing demand for a wide range of minerals, we will need more skilled mining professionals to meet demand.

Miners are Essential to American Life

Minerals and mining shape our world – steel, copper, nickel and lithium make up the fabric of our increasingly electrified lives. We rely on minerals every day and will continue to do so far into the future.

As we look ahead, the job outlook for the next generation of miners is bright. We need professionals in a variety of areas who are excited to grow, learn about new technologies and meet the growing mineral demands expected to feed our energy future. Our new ‘Careers in Mining’ video captures this excitement, showing the diverse voices and jobs that are a part of the next generation in mining.

No two jobs are the same, and all offer great pay and benefits, with work including:

  • Engineering and Geology: Mining engineers and geologists play a crucial role in planning and executing mining operations. They assess geological conditions, design extraction processes, and ensure safety and environmental compliance.
  • Environmental and Health Safety: Professionals in this field focus on ensuring that mining operations adhere to environmental regulations and prioritize the safety and well-being of workers.
  • Laborer Positions: These roles involve various aspects of material extraction, such as equipment operation, drilling and blasting.
  • Management and Administration: These roles involve overseeing operations, logistics, finances and regulatory compliance. Management positions ensure that mining operations run smoothly and efficiently.
  • Research and Development: The mining industry also offers opportunities for researchers and scientists to develop new technologies, sustainable practices and innovative solutions to challenges in the sector.

Taking Mining and Education to the Next Level

We must meet the rising workforce needs of tomorrow by widening the door into this field.

Recent legislative efforts, including the Mining Schools Act of 2022, introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and supported by the NMA, demonstrate the bipartisan commitment to bolstering domestic mining education and training programs. This act requires the Department of Energy, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, to provide technology grants to enhance mining education and sustain the positive outlook for mining professionals. Additionally, the act is particularly beneficial for managers and educators within the industry as they strive to improve their leadership and instruction for the next generation of miners.

The mining industry offers a wide array of career opportunities that cater to diverse interests and levels of experience. From hands-on work to contributing to research and innovative ideas, our industry plays a crucial role in supplying essential resources we count on every day. With a passionate next generation of workers, and support for their education and training, together, we can ensure that our industry and workforce continue to thrive.