Construction Companies Struggle to Fill Jobs

November 01, 2017 10:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Many construction companies in Rochester are facing a challenge when it comes to filling the gap retired workers are leaving in their wake.

Companies like Benike Construction are struggling to keep a full staff amid a steady stream of projects.


“The recruitment of skilled workers is a common problem throughout southeastern Minnesota,” says the President of the company, Aaron Benike.

Benike says the number of projects has steadily grown since 2011. He adds they are not just trying to keep up with the increasing number of projects, they are also trying to keep up with an influx of people retiring. “Because of the baby boomers, many of the folks that we have been working with for the last 25, 30 years are now eligible to retire.”

Benike says he has even had to ask retired workers to come back temporarily.

According to the Director of Construction Partnerships Inc., not enough students being exposed to construction trades is part of the problem. James Kelly says there is a growing effort to change that. “We have been doing job fairs, we have been partnering with the C - Tech programs and then Workforce Development.”

The hope? To attract more students like Reed Defrang to the industry. The First Year Apprentice chose construction as a career path for the benefits and job security. “It's nice knowing that every day I can go do something and find some work. Whether it's here or a different job, whether I have to travel a bit, I always know I have work.”

Project Build Minnesota is a state-wide initiative promoting construction work as a lifelong career path.

As local companies look to recruit more students, women and minorities to the trade … “We anticipate being able to keep up with the demand,” says Benike.


Hannah Tiede

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