Skilled Labor Shortage Amplifies Need to Boost Vocational Education

By on November 7, 2018

From RiverBender:  by Jason Weiss, The Korte Company

A building boom is underway in the U.S., but it’s hampered by a skilled labor shortage that’s extending project timelines and sending costs soaring. This discussion examines the historical causes of the shortage—including American schools’ failure to support vocational programs that would keep this vital job sector supplied with the labor it relies on—and proposes a solution that could bring the skilled workforce back to full strength.


We’re in the thick of a construction boom. But if you ask anyone in the business, the boom could be so much more but for a big problem: There are too few skilled laborers to meet construction demand across the country.

As a result, a potentially explosive growth opportunity in the construction sector is thwarted as owners and contractors confront the fact that they may not be able to consistently field a reliable roster of workers.

Even homeowners struggle to find skilled workers for home repairs.

The result? Construction projects take longer and are more expensive as general contractors are stuck waiting for labor to become available and then pay a premium to keep it on-site.

Ideas about how to correct the trend abound, including paying recruiting bonuses or offering non-cash incentives to workers. But these costly measures do little more than guarantee that only contractors with means can secure quality labor. The underlying problem persists.

Below, we summarize the cause of today’s skilled worker shortage and join in calling for a more unified, sustainable way to strengthen the ranks of a workforce badly in need of reinforcement.

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