Local business industries suffer since pandemic, strive to recruit younger population

The average age of commercial workers is getting older every year. Add to that the recent recession and the wave of retirements, and like many other industries, construction is in crisis.

“We were seeing some of these issues before COVID even happened,” said Rick Myhre, president of Construct Tomorrow.

Business ventures focus on educating students still in high school or college.

“Give them a taste of all the different jobs and get them to think about it like they would in college, in the military or in other careers,” Myhre said.

Women and people of color are also encouraged to join construction – some noting that marginalized groups have historically had little access to apprenticeships or contract work. Business leaders insist that construction work is for everyone.

“If you are interested in construction, there is a place for you,” said Susan Boehm, regional coordinator for Workforce Development Inc.

This year, the city wants around 7% of construction workers to be women. Currently, about 3.5% of construction workers in Rochester are women.

“You can’t tell by looking at a person because of their gender or the color of their skin what skills they bring to the table,” Boehm said.

Trades workers can either enter apprenticeships through a union or register directly with contractors. Unions guarantee balanced benefits and wages, while many entrepreneurs offer the same. The salary is competitive. Some starting wages are around $ 30 an hour, which hopefully prompts people to return to work and rebuild commerce industries.

Those interested in joining the construction can contact Workforce Development Incorporated.

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