Firms and union leaders deal with shortage of construction workers

Firms and union leaders deal with shortage of construction workers

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Construction firms across the country are dealing with a severe lack of skilled workers.

Rick McGuire with the Laborer’s International Union explained one of the reasons why there is a nationwide shortage of skilled construction workers.

“In America, we all told our kids to go to college and that’s great, but we didn’t talk enough about trade,” he said.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 80 percent of firms cannot find workers.

McGuire said, “We’ve got people that are probably a little bit old and we have new people coming in and the work is busier than ever so we’re needing people.”

Union leaders said that’s causing firms to raise their prices and take longer to complete certain projects. McGuire said it’s impacting areas here in the Heartland.

“There’s a bridge in Cairo that needs help right now, we need a bridge in Chester and when we get these projects going we got to have people to build them,” McGuire said.

Libby Guilliams with Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center said it starts with knowing the opportunities.

She said, “We’re definitely trying to continue with our recruiting efforts and a lot of information we’re trying to get to parents, counselors, people who influence.”

Guilliams said shortages like this impact us more than we think.

“We want roads to drive on and air conditioning in our homes and indoor plumbing," said Guilliams. “We want all of those things to happen in order to do that we have to have the skills trades.”

McGuire said they are currently working hard to combat the problem.

“We’re recruiting as we speak,” McGuire said.

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