An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Local construction industry leaders are launching a high school training program to increase the labor pipeline

max kuney 9-1 rw.jpg
Rebecca White / SPR
Construction company owner Max Kuney tells a crowd gathered at a North South Freeway project site that the construction industry is struggling to hire workers, which has impacted both home, and infrastructure construction projects.

The construction industry is experiencing a labor crisis, which is driving up the cost or delaying many construction, or housing projects in the Northwest.

Wednesday local industry leaders announced a plan to provide training for high school students in hopes of creating a pipeline into the industry.

Regional construction leaders have launched two programs to bring more young people into the industry. One, backed by the Spokane Homebuilders Association will operate in local schools, launching first at Innovation High School. The program will operate similar to a woodshop, or shop class, but instead of making birdhouses, students will learn the basics of building a home.

“They'll receive exposure to plumbing, to electrical work, and understand how a solar panel is installed and understand what it means to have proper insulation and how it effects the temperature inside the house, and the end result, your power bill.”

Brian Burrows is the development director of the new initiative, Frame Your Future.

He said step two of the program will be demonstrations from local leaders in construction, who can also connect students with future job opportunities.

The second will be a large recruitment effort from the local chapter of the Association of General Contractors, which is geared toward infrastructure projects.

Both groups say workers are desperately needed to keep up with the demand for housing, and the many green energy and infrastructure projects recently funded by the Federal government.