WXXI AM News

The construction industry struggles to find qualified workers

Feb 5, 2020

The Rochester metro area is the third fastest growing construction job market in the United States in 2019, but firms here and around the country are having a difficult time finding enough qualified workers, according to data compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America.

AGC spokesman Brian Turmail joined local construction industry representatives Wednesday at School No. 10 in Rochester, which is undergoing a $20 million dollar renovation. He says the Rochester area experienced a 15 percent growth in construction jobs, adding 3,000 jobs the past 12 months.

Construction workers at School No. 10 in Rochester
Credit Alex Crichton

“Most construction firms are having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to keep up with demand for construction,” Turmail said.

Much of that shortage is due to perceptions about the industry according to Anthony DiTucci, President and COO of Livingston Associates, a construction firm based in Scottsville.

“There's a shortfall, which is increasing the demand which is increasing salaries and opportunities and making it a more attractive career option for a lot of different people,” DiTucci said.

DiTucci says a rebranding of the industry, along with recruiting and retaining workers is important if the supply of workers is to keep up with the demand.

The ACG has crafted a national workforce development plan to address the shortage, according to Turmail.

“The plan calls for doubling federal investments in career and technical education programs over the next five years,” Turmail said. “And we think every state should be required to evaluate high schools based on how many people that graduate and either go on to college or go to careers in professions like construction.”

Turmail adds that local builders are also taking steps to recruit and prepare workers to enter the local industry, which includes the ACE mentor program that puts construction professionals in schools to talk to young people about career opportunities in construction.

Associated General Contractors of America spokesman Brian Turmail on the challenges facing the growing construction industry:

Take a quick tour of School No. 10 with Tom Parmenter, project manager for Manning, Squires Hennig Construction.