Colorado needs trades workers; Economist says demand not going away anytime soon

KKTV 11 News this Morning
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:46 AM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - You don’t have to go far to find new construction projects filling in space in Colorado, and workers are needed to keep up with demand.

Bureau of Labor statistics show, 5,000 construction jobs were listed in Colorado in the past 30 days. The median pay for Colorado construction jobs is $45,630.

“These are livable wages for El Paso County, but here’s the thing, a lot of them also offer benefits,” explained Tatiana Bailey, director of the economic forum for University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “They’re not jobs that are going to go away. Even if we hit a mild recession, let’s say in 2022 or 2023, the construction industry is going to stay strong, in particular in the state of Colorado.”

Pikes Peak Community College says its trades program has exploded in growth. Trades program director Dave Frankmore estimates he has 80 students now, compared to five years ago when he estimates he had about 30 students.

“We have contractors on a regular basis getting in contact with us, basically begging for students,” Frankmore said. To illustrate the widespread demand, he added, “I live in Pueblo West actually. If you drive down any block at this point, there’s at minimum one to two houses being built.”

Leaders with the college say this is why they’ve expanded trades education programs significantly the past two years.

“When we look at the top 50 jobs in Colorado Springs, construction entry makes up about 10 of those jobs,” said Chelsy Harris, PPCC Vice President of Strategic Partnerships.

Harris explained how learning trades skills through PPCC is now essentially customizable to any student’s needs.

“Because of the structure of the program, people can start at any time throughout the semester. So they don’t have to start right at the first day of school, Aug. 27. They could start in September … They can start November … Whatever works with their schedule, and they can do this as intensely as they like or as casually as they like.”

The college offers the ability to obtain industry standard certifications while taking classes, so students are ready to be hired on upon graduation. Click here to learn more.

Copyright 2021 KKTV. All rights reserved.