Boise Builders See Industry Stigma as Obstacle to Filling Jobs

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Robison Wells
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As with nearly every city across America, skilled labor shortage is a significant problem. The Associated General Contractors of America shows that employment numbers have been down across the country. Boise, Idaho, is faring better, but they find that they’re facing one major problem when they recruit: the stigma of working in the construction industry.

83% of Idaho-based construction companies say that finding skilled labor is a top priority, and they all had unfilled positions as of July 2020.

“There is a stigma that needs to be overcome when it comes to construction as a career,” said Ben Petzinger, a project manager on the Park Place Apartments in downtown Boise. “We look at this in terms of applied technology. There is more technology in our industry today than there has ever been, and tomorrow it will be one step further.”

“We feel very strongly about encouraging the next generation of plumbers, electricians, framers and welders,” said Petzinger. “This is a great way to make a living, and there is a lot of good to be said about building something.”

“There is a huge market for anyone working in construction,” said Wayne Hammon, of the Idaho Associated General Contractors. “There are jobs waiting for them right here in Boise, good-paying jobs.”

It is unclear how effective outreach programs are working on the large scale, though smaller, hands-on apprenticeship programs prove to be useful in gaining young people into skilled trades.

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