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Texas Construction Coalition Tackles Labor Shortage Locally

Tue March 28, 2017 - National Edition
Florian Martin - Houston Public Media

Welders can make up to $50 an hour. Picture by Florian Martin of Houston Public Media
Welders can make up to $50 an hour. Picture by Florian Martin of Houston Public Media

At a recent breakfast meeting, about 200 representatives from the construction industry – led by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston – talked about how to increase their workforce.

ABC's president Russell Hamley told a local news source that tackling the skilled labor shortage has been a top priority for the last three years.

“I've been hearing about labor shortages off and on for 15 or 20 years, quite frankly,” he said. “Sometimes it's more dramatic and really affects the industry and how we operate.”

He said welders and pipefitters in the industrial sector, and plumbers and electricians in the commercial sector are currently most in demand.

That's why they're making a concerted effort to connect with schools, colleges and organizations like the Greater Houston Partnership.

“So we've been working diligently at the younger levels to first of all change the perception of the industry,” Hamley said, “and then make it an easy entry point to join the construction industry and make it a career.”

Hamley said many see construction work as hard and dangerous with low pay. But he points out it's much safer today than it used to be.

And welders, for example, can earn between $25 and $40 an hour, he said. And because of the shortage, a 50-hour work week is pretty common at the moment.

To listen to then full interview, please visit or for more information.