As part of an effort to deal with a severe shortage of construction workers in Sacramento, homebuilders are providing summer construction internships for high school students. They hope that teens and their parents will consider construction careers a possibility, and maybe even a good alternative to college.
“There’s a negative stereotype about dirty jobs,” said Rick Larkey, executive director of the North State Building Industry Foundation. They are leading the effort to recruit new workers through internships and after school programs. The goal is to recruit 5,000 new workers over five years in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties.
The foundation states that a college degree is not a guarantee of financial success, as in previous years. Meantime, the need for skilled technicians is growing acutely, and construction workers incomes often rival those for jobs that require a four year degree.
“We’re trying to give them an opportunity to have a successful and meaningful career that pays well, especially for those that like to work with their hands,” Larkey said.
Many Sacramento area construction workers left the industry after the housing crash in the previous decade. They moved away, or retrained for new careers. The demand for new construction is growing, and builders find they cannot find the skilled labor to keep up with the demand. They need electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople.