Trade workers needed for Omaha's fast-growing construction market

Published: Nov. 22, 2019 at 5:11 PM CST
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Omaha is the fastest growing construction job market in the country. Nearly 6,000 new construction jobs were added in the metro area over the past year. The industry is in need of workers.

According to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there are 300,000 unfilled construction jobs nationwide currently. An additional 700,000 needed by 2026.

Carpenter and general contractor Corey Woods says the lack of skilled workers affects all levels of construction. This creates higher costs and delays in completing projects.

“We have projects going on right now in the local community where we are pulling out of state workers in just to do the work,” said Woods.

Brian Turmail with Associated General Contractors of America says, “We’re preparing a lot of over-educated baristas and we’re not preparing a lot of craft professionals.”

A long term solution is right here on the North Omaha Metro Community college campus, where training for construction jobs are under one roof. High school students are now taking classes here, earning credits for graduation while learning skills of a trade.

Higher pay and bonus incentives are included to help fill the construction void for the long haul.

“As a result, you’re making more money with less debt than the average four-year college graduate when you work in construction,” said Turmail.

Turmail says the void could be filled for the short term by reforming immigration laws, allowing for a larger worker pool. He says legal immigration and strong borders are needed along with sanctioning businesses that take advantage of immigrant workers by hiring undocumented workers and paying low wages.