Houston’s Construction Industry Tackles Labor Shortage

Some construction groups are coordinating an effort to get more workers into what can be a high-paid career.


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Photo of a welder
Welders can currently make up to $40 an hours in Houston.

At a recent breakfast meeting, about 200 representatives from the construction industry – led by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston – talked about how to increase their workforce.

ABC's president Russell Hamley told News 88.7 tackling the skilled labor shortage has been a top priority for the last three years.

"I've been hearing about labor shortages off and on for 15 or 20 years, quite frankly," he said. "Sometimes it's more dramatic and really affects the industry and how we operate."

He said welders and pipefitters in the industrial sector, and plumbers and electricians in the commercial sector are currently most in demand.

That's why they're making a concerted effort to connect with schools, colleges and organizations like the Greater Houston Partnership.

"So we've been working diligently at the younger levels to first of all change the perception of the industry," Hamley said, "and then make it an easy entry point to join the construction industry and make it a career."

Hamley said many see construction work as hard and dangerous with low pay. But he points out it's much safer today than it used to be.

And welders, for example, can earn between $25 and $40 an hour, he said. And because of the shortage, a 50-hour work week is pretty common at the moment.

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