Bizjournals released an article in June 2014 indicating that construction and architectural firms are struggling to find qualified applicants.
Due to the most recent recession, former construction workers have left the trade for other industries, leaving little likelihood of their return and creating a higher demand for new workers.
With that increased need to hire younger employees, apprenticeship programs are making a comeback. Last year, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 didn’t take any apprentices, said president Terry McGowan. This year, Local 139 has received more than 700 applicants and plans to accept 200 apprentices.
While the rebound of the market continues, the challenge for construction and architectural firms is to stand out against other companies in the competition for new talent.
“The shortage has begun on both sides,” said Craig Coursin, president of MSI GeneralCorp., Oconomowoc. “The students that just graduated have great opportunity for many years. They will find employment.”
Other executives agreed that having jobs available is the key and workers will go where the jobs are. They are hopeful that the appeal of making a lasting impact through building will help them recruit.
“While there may be a lag, people enjoy being in this industry,” said Nelson Williams, CEO of Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield. “You look at Instagram and Snapchat – things that are very temporary in time. The work we do lasts for generations and I think there is a real appeal to that.”