Construction companies dealing with skilled worker shortage

A lack of skilled construction workers is making it harder for some businesses to hire and complete jobs on time.
A lack of skilled construction workers makes hiring and completing jobs on time harder for some businesses.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A lack of skilled construction workers makes it harder for some businesses to hire and complete jobs on time.

“The construction workforce shortage is a major issue here in the commonwealth,” Associated General Contractors of Richmond CEO Brandon Robinson said.

Inside Henrico schools’ ACE Center, students get hands-on experience building modular homes and learning what it takes to be a construction worker.

“You can get in with a local company, or some of the biggest companies in the world, you can build things, work with your hands, you won’t have college debt,” Robinsons said.

And help is desperately needed. At the end of July, the construction industry had over $350,000 job openings nationwide.

“Well, unfortunately, we’ve already seen a lot of projects take much longer than had expected and finished at a higher cost than had been expected often because there’s not enough workers,” Associated General Contractors of America Ken Simonson said.

According to a recent survey, 96% of construction firms in Virginia have open positions. What are the most difficult jobs to fill? Truck drivers, equipment operators and electricians.

“Here in the Richmond area, we need to be building whether it’s more schools, updating schools, we need to be building while contractors only have so many folks that they can put onto job sites,” Robinson said.

A big reason why people aren’t getting hired is that they don’t have the necessary skills, but that does not mean they must go to college.

“With a workforce shortage, it means projects take longer, it means the folks who are working have to work longer hours to meet deadlines to meet schedules and to keep things on track and on budget, so if we can get more folks into the traders, more folks working into construction we can build more schools, bigger schools, better schools, more affordable housing and continue to grow the Richmond community,” Robinson said.