A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Skilled Labor Shortage Already Here in Texas

A great article in a small publication points out that employers around the Great State aren’t just anticipating a labor shortage, they’re already feeling it.

Community Impact Newspaper reports that employers are already having trouble finding people for jobs like plumbing, pipefitting, electricians and machinists.  At a recent meeting of business leaders with Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, a man who manufactures furniture in San Marcos put it bluntly: “I couldn’t find an employee in this town if my life depended on it.”

In the article, Combs remarks on welding jobs in Texas:  “Right now you can’t hire a welder. We’re about 500 to 1,000 [employees] short.”

The article also quotes Jane Hanna, president and executive director of the Construction Education Foundation of North Texas who states:

“The average age of a skilled craftsman is 49; the average age for a stone mason is 69. In the next four to six years, 20 percent of the skilled laborers in the construction industry will be retiring.”

As a result, vocational training classes at technical colleges are filling up fast, and in many cases they’re having to turn people away.  The San Antonio Manufacturers Association says more than 1500 jobs in that area are unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers.

As we’ve pointed out previously on Construction Citizen, the head of the Texas Workforce Commission Tom Pauken says the state has neglected this problem by pushing all students toward four years of college, even if that’s not the right path for every Texan.  “This one-size-fits-all approach is a big mistake,” Pauken said.  “Texas needs two approaches—college-ready and career-ready.”

Thoughts?  The comments section is all yours.


Anonymous's picture

Skilled craftmen in texas have taken a significant wage reduction over the last 20 years.
Not by dollars earned but how far those dollars go to cover raising a family. We have seen in Texas and problably many other parts of the Country a detiriaration of the middle class. I believe this transfers into the Housing Sector Sickness and into consumer confidence that is criticle to the recover in our ecomony.

Industries must consider how their projects are being built and do the Socially Responsible thing and make sure that those that are constructing their facilites are able to be their customers.

This economy is a fragile food chane.!!

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