Headed into 2018, the data show that more than 90 percent of construction contractors expect to see profit growth, a further sign that the industry is well and truly recovered from the building crash a decade ago.

However, continued growth brings with it a demand for skilled labor, and those figures are still down. Six in 10 contractors, in fact, reported difficulty with employee recruitment and finding the help they needed in the third quarter of 2017. Recruiting experienced construction workers has been tough in recent years due in part to fewer younger adults entering the trades. One local small business is working to change that trend.

Custom Concrete Contracting, a Whatcom County professional concrete finisher, has been working to encourage younger adults to start a career in the trades for some time. They frequently hire entry-level construction workers (at around $30,000 to $40,000 per year) and train them on the job to become project managers, a role that pays family wage earnings in Bellingham and Whatcom County. In fact, owner Dave Johnson plans to ramp up his recruitment and educational efforts in 2018, speaking to high school and technical college students throughout the region about the benefits of choosing a career in the trades.

In a news feature posted on his company’s blog this past year, Johnson said skilled labor serves as the foundation of all engineering and design work done throughout the world.

“Sometimes we forget the value of work in the trades,” he said. “Anything that an architect or engineer designs must be built by a laborer.”

Small businesses like Custom Concrete know the value of having dedicated, skilled workers on their flatwork and finishing crews. A company is only as strong as its employees, after all.

“Our goal has always been to build up the skills and qualifications of our employees,” Johnson says. “Not only does that help us as a company get better at what we do, but it also enables our workers to advance in their career as well, to take on more responsibility and to provide for their families.”

The process of providing on the job training in the construction industry takes time and effort, but Johnson believes the results are well worth it.

“When our employees make a commitment to us, we’re making a commitment to them, too, by providing on the job training and paying for them to earn important trade certifications. We’re also making a commitment to the industry, which needs more well-trained, well-qualified workers across the board.”

To learn more about starting a construction career at Custom Concrete Contracting in Bellingham, WA, visit them online at http://www.customconcrete.biz/careers/.


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