Help Wanted: Nevada facing skilled labor shortage


The jobs are here, but what about the workers?

As Las Vegas continues to grow, some say a shortage of skilled labor is only getting worse.

It's a problem contractors are facing across the country. However, here in our community, steps are being taken to fill those vacancies.

One solution is to recruit from within our high schools, and it's something that's never really been done before.

Earlier this year, the Home Builders Association launched an outreach program, introducing high school students to the construction industry.

Meantime, the cranes keep moving and Las Vegas keeps growing.

"There's more construction going on right behind us," said homeowner Yvette Fernandez, who knows all about a shortage in construction labor.

"For the builders, these deadlines are 'estimates,'" she said.

Fernandez moved into her southeast Las Vegas neighborhood months behind schedule, a problem she first shared with News 3 in February.

"We were given October as a deadline, then mid-November, then December, then mid-January," she said.

And the issues have not gotten any better.

The Associated General Contractors of America released a workforce survey that shows 79 percent of Nevada companies are having a hard time filling both salaried and hourly craft positions.

"I met with an individual who's building a mini storage and he can't get anybody to bid on the project because it's too small of a project," said Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

And here's why: From Raiders Stadium to Resorts World to a brand new home for the 51s baseball team, long-term construction projects are naturally more attractive to the average worker.

This is why Sisolak says recruiting from within our high schools will help up build up the workforce.

"Educate some of these young people about the trades, what they are. And then as soon as they're done with school you move into apprenticeship and then move into journeyman if you put in your time," he said.

"We have plenty of people here who want to work; the thing is training them," says Tommy White with Laborers Local 872.

He says when the recession hit 10 years ago, the construction industry felt it. By some estimates, a 90 percent cut in the workforce.

Now, his union is focused on training, training, and more training. And he says attitudes about construction work are changing.

"We had the generation that wanted their kids to go to college and now we have the same kids who went to college wanting their kids to go into construction. Construction has always been a good paying job in Las Vegas," he said.

And for the foreseeable future, steady work for anyone with the right skills.

White says his union also works with "Hope for Prisoners", training people behind bars.

So when they get out, they have a skill and a solid plan for the future.

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