Construction season is at its peak but as work picks up speed, the labor numbers aren’t keeping up. For years construction companies have struggled to find workers and each year fewer and fewer people are going into the field.
Construction season is at its peak but as work picks up speed, the labor numbers aren’t keeping up.
For years construction companies have struggled to find workers and each year fewer and fewer people are going into the field.
“We have one person and all he does is schedule subcontractors electronically and by phone keeping, ahead of everyone on the schedule,” said Ron Henkel, President of Pinnacle Homes.
Henkel says the shortage is prolonging the timeframe to build homes.
In his 30 years in the business Henkel used to build 12 homes at a time but now he does half that number.
“It’s taking longer to build because of schedules and because of the shortage sometimes, you have to wait for some of our contractors,” explained Henkel.
The problem has also driven labor costs up 20 percent in the last four years, according to Henkel.
Rick Herman, the CEO of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association says they can’t even give away their five annual scholarships simply because no one is applying for them.
“It’s widely promoted within schools,” Herman said. “The most I had was 3 applicants a year. For a number of years, we've seen less and less students go into trade."
Herman believes the problem stems from the field being stigmatized as a bad career but the RHBA CEO says it’s well paying with many jobs out of college starting at $20-per hour.
“I tell people if their son or daughter comes home and wants to be a plumber or electrician give them a hug because they're gonna be making a lot more money than we are right now,” said Herman.
At SUNY Alfred State, the director of the college’s trade program tells News10NBC every year they have more requests from companies for graduates, thank new students.
If you’re interested in the trades you can reach out to the RHBA for information by clicking here. You can also call them at (585) 272-8222.