Lehigh Career & Technical Institute was featured this weekend in a CBS Sunday Morning report about the nation’s shortage of skilled construction workers.
National Association of Homebuilders chief economist Robert Dietz said, “The challenge right now is that we simply do not have enough people who are ready and willing and able to join the construction industry.”
During the 2008 recession, more than 1.5 million residential construction workers left the industry, opting to switch careers or retire. Immigrant workers, meanwhile, went home and didn’t return because of tough immigration laws. All told, the industry has recovered fewer than half of workers lost during the economic downturn.
For every skilled construction worker who enters the labor pool, five retire. And a survey conducted this year showed that only 3 percent of career-minded young people are interested in construction trades.
They key, says LCTI Director of Career and Technical Education Kurt Adam, is to change minds about skilled trades and the schools that prepare students to pursue lucrative careers in construction and other industries.
“We have companies out there that will stand in line, literally stand in line, waiting for kids to interview and offer them jobs,” he said. The starting salary for some of those jobs is $60,000. Click play to watch the complete report.