How Awareness and Early Education Can Combat the Construction Labor Shortage!

It is no surprise to anyone in the skilled trades industry that we are in the middle of a very serious and real labor shortage. In fact, according to, 80% of US based construction companies surveyed are experiencing problems in finding qualified workers, mainly hourly skilled trades workers. Just within the state of NY, 79% of companies stated having issues locating hourly workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America;s 2018 Workforce Survey.

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What is our best line of defense right now, in the middle of the chaos? Simple, across the board, the average hourly earnings in the construction industry are higher than the average of all private sector positions (excluding farming) by over 10%! Not to mention that a large majority of construction trades do not require a college degree, this should be a fairly easy sell, right? Unfortunately, that is proving to not be the case.

The conversation regarding skilled trades opportunities has to start before today’s youth hits the workforce. This information needs to be getting in front of parents, guidance counselors, educational leaders, and the students themselves at a younger age. There seems to be a miss-conception and stigma attached to positions in the construction industry, that they may not be able to make a living wage. This couldn’t farther from the truth as James Haas, a learning coordinator with Capital Region Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) reiterates.

“We’ve got to get mom and dad, we’ve got to get the guidance counselors, we’ve got to get the kids to understand that it’s not always a baccalaureate degree (that’s necessary),” Haas said. “Laborers are making real, living wages, that have good benefits, that have a Monday through Friday work schedule. And they’re probably making $1500 a week.”

BOCES has been partnering with school districts for over 70 years in an attempt to better garner and promote evolving and necessary educational programs. For more information on how you or school district can get involved with BOCES, please visit their website at

This could and should be powerful information that needs to be getting in front of families and educational institutions. We all need to keep in mind that the shortage of workers in the skilled trades industry ultimately can affect everyone in the economy. The shortage can lead to public and private sector construction projects taking longer, costing more money and in the end stunting overall economic growth. It is up to all of us, including our educational system to once again get students excited about the skilled trades industry. There are and will continue to be excellent skilled trades opportunities out there, just waiting for the next generation to step in and take the charge.

The Trillium brand of companies is privately owned by René Poch and provides more than 30 years of industry leading recruitment and staffing services through its divisions including: Trillium Staffing, Trillium Construction Services, Trillium Driver Solutions, Trillium Marine, Trillium Technical, Trillium Environmental, Trillium Hospitality and Trillium Techs. With approximately 98 offices nationwide and nearly 400 internal recruitment professionals, the Trillium brand is proud to be recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts as a Top 25 Largest Industrial Staffing Firm in the U.S., a Top 100 Largest Staffing Firm in the U.S., a Top 100 Fastest Growing Staffing Firm in the U.S., and a winner of National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. For more information please visit

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Carmen Hoover

Carmen Hoover has written 101 post(s) for Trillium Staffing.

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