Pandemic has accelerated, exacerbated labor shortage problem for construction industry

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 6:10 PM EST
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MUNDY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Bathroom remodeling, a new roof or maybe a new house? If you’re in the market to make some upgrades, you might be waiting months to secure a company or contractor.

It’s all due to a labor shortage that’s been years in the making, and only accelerated by the pandemic.

”Most projects might take 6 months or more, and the reality is I don’t see that getting any better,” said Daniel Lane, vice president in charge of installation for American Metal Roofing in Mundy Township.

Lane said the pandemic has created a demand in home projects with many people being home, but not enough skilled workers to get the job done.

Even with close to half a million people being unemployed in Michigan.

“I think it can be solved if employers get a little more creative. They’re going to have to do more training, in house training for sure and make things more appealing,” Lane said.

Lane is already one step ahead in the game. American Metal Roofing has developed its own incentive driven program to increase skill sets for workers and make sure their paycheck reflects it.

Someone can come in as entry level with little or no experience and receive hands on training which would allow them to be a ground coordinator, for example. Next up might be a junior level installer and then a senior level installer.

“We’ve had people come to us with no experience and within a couple years, their within the top of the hierarchy,” he said.

It’s been such a success for Lane and the company, turnover has been very minimal.

The hope now is other employers see the necessity in making sure workers are given the tools and training to achieve the required skill sets to get these jobs done, so people like you at home aren’t waiting for months for that new bathroom or new roof.

“We’ll catch up at some point, but we’re certainly going to have some bumps in the road until then,” he said.

There is a program in place to grow our state’s skilled trade workforce.

This fiscal year, Michigan’s Going PRO Talent Fund has awarded more than $39 million.

That grant money is being used to train over 30,000 workers at more than 850 businesses statewide.

The ultimate goal of this program is to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.

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