Skilled Construction Workers Wanted!

by Pete Belcastro.
It’s really hard to imagine that local construction companies are desperate to find enough skilled workers, or for that matter workers, to fill local jobs.  The demand for these workers has out-paced the supply.
On a recent “Real Estate Show” Brad Bennington, CEO of the Homebuilders Association, and Brent Hackwell, Project Manager for SB James Construction both told of the frustration mounting due to the lack of skilled workers in the trades.  Not only construction companies, but their subcontractors can’t find enough people to work.  What has happened?
According to Hackwell, local schools stopped funding for program supporting the trades years ago and we’re seeing the results.  Even RCC once had a construction trade program that has been eliminated.  To get workers, local companies are having to hire from out of the area and that drives up costs.
Bennington suggests that the local homebuilders association  and others may have to start their own program to train local workers.  Finding people willing to learn is another problem facing these companies.
What’s even more frustrating to company managers is the high wage being offered with few takers.  Its common to pay construction workers a generous salary of say  $50,000 not including benefits and other perks.
Southern Oregon is large enough to have a pool of workers in these trades.  Why can’t educators and economic development officials get together and help one of Jackson County’s largest economic groups find and train construction workers we so desperately need.
Your thoughts?

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