Construction industry looking to entice younger workers

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With many laborers retiring and the workforce aging, the construction industry is doing its best to point out to young people the merits of pursuing a career in construction.

Recently, 90 high school students from St. Johns County visited a construction site to get an idea of what takes place on a daily basis. The St. Augustine Record reports that the students were there to learn about an industry that desperately needs their help.

Karin Tucker Hoffman, president/CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Florida First Coast Chapter, said more than 80 percent of ABC members say they have trouble finding appropriately skilled labor. But she said this is not a new — that it has been difficult for the industry to find skilled workers to meet the demand since the Great Recession when thousands of workers left the industry never to return.

Other factors affecting the industry include retiring Baby Boomers and the tendency of high school students to pursue college degrees instead of entering the workforce.

Many students and their parents are unaware of the myriad of opportunities that exist in the construction field. For instance, the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA) sponsors a four-year apprenticeship training for local students in carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing.

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