Imagine this: robots running a construction project.
Crazy, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in Baltimore in a factory owned by Blueprint Robotics, a manufacturing facility specializing in building, design, off-site construction, and manufacturing. Their “software engineers and architects convert builders’ plans into programs that computerized machines follow” (USA Today). These machines then cut the wood and piece everything together. And the reason for this new technique? A worsening construction worker shortage. Ultimately, it’s cheaper to use machines than to build homes with too few employees.
But what about other construction firms, like us? We can’t possibly count on robots to complete our projects. It’s just not that simple.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this year alone, employers in the construction industry have been looking for fill an average of nearly 225,000 jobs each month. It seems insane to think that a country which “paved one of the most expansive highway and transportation systems on the planet” could be dealing with such an ailing industry (US News).
The only positive from this shortage is that current employees have experienced higher pay, as their services are in higher demand. However, it doesn’t fix the problem. Larger projects simply require a larger workforce.
Byrne & Jones Construction in St. Louis, for example, has started an internship program. Two college seniors have already overseen a $4.5 million paving project, designed a high school athletic field, and written several proposals for similar projects (STL Today). Other companies are rebuilding their recruitment programs in order to fill in gaps left by those retiring. Northern Pacific President Richard Henry of McCarthy Building in San Francisco says, “In terms of retention, the younger generations are very impatient. They want to be the presidents of the organization in two years. … But our industry doesn’t move that quickly” (BISNOW).
“In June 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reform education and expand access to apprenticeships and workforce-development programs, to help address the shortage of labor problem. The plan intends to ease the regulatory burden on apprenticeship programs and integrate classroom learning with on-the-job training” (The Epoch Times). You can read more about that here.
Although at George Nice & Sons we have not yet solidified our training plans, we do hope to one day offer some type of apprenticeship program for interested candidates. Until then, we are still hiring for skilled heavy equipment operators, laborers, and pipe layers. Apply here today!