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Omaha metro among major cities struggling to find qualified construction workers

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 4:43 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha is lagging behind other metro cities when it comes to construction, but it’s not for lack of opportunities.

Instead, it’s people.

Despite all the cars forced to navigate cones near job sites, Omaha needs more construction workers.

A report from the Associated General Contractors of American outlines construction jobs in the Omaha metro fell by 1% from November of 2020 to November 2021.

Specifically, that amounts to 30,200, down from 30,500. It may seem like there’s work being done everywhere - from downtown to Elkhorn, but the report would suggest otherwise.

Omaha now ranks 288th in the U.S. for construction employment, but it’s not just a Nebraska problem. A third of the 358 metro cities surveyed, report they lost construction jobs or stayed flat.

So what’s the overarching issue? Experts say qualified workers are in short supply.

“The gap in federal funding for career and technical education is making it hard for sectors like construction, manufacturing, and shipping to find workers interested in those career tracks,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the Association’s Chief Executive Officer, adding “We are doing everything we can to recruit people into high-paying construction careers but exposing more students to construction skills will certainly help.”

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