Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)- Construction is the second highest paying industry in Central New York, and yet there is a shortage of construction workers. John Walker has been a construction worker for 25 years, and he said there are not enough new workers replacing retiring workers.
“It’s harder on the guys that you got cause they got to do more work, and it’s good to get the young ones out with the guys that know what to do so they can learn the right way and be safe,” said Walker.
Walker said a solution to the shortage are apprenticeships. He said they are key to getting skilled construction workers back in the field.
“This is dangerous work, you got to know what you’re doing, you got to be trained. That’s when the union comes in, being an apprentice… you learn everything the right way.”
At Carpenters Local #277 apprentices learn the skills necessary to be safe on the job, all while getting paid.
“When you’re at the training center you’re expected to act just like you’re on a job site, you got to have your hard hat and safety glasses…”said Jim Walker, President of Local #277.
Carpenter apprentices start out by learning the basic skills of being a carpenter like reading blueprints, developing math skills and learning how to operate machinery.
Jim Walker said the apprenticeships are not limited to just the basics, but there is opportunity to specialize in the area they’re interested in.
“And then we get a little bit more into the specifics if the carpenter wants, apprentice wants to evolve and become a floor layer, learn all the floor laying skills, concrete floor laying carpenter, we’ll do classes specific to that,” said Jim Walker.
Some apprentices get into construction for the pay, the insurance or the pension. But for apprentices like Gabriell Ormsby, construction runs in the family.
“So, growing up my dad and my grandpa both did it so I was always around it so it’s kind of the third generation thing, and my dad never had a son, so being the oldest daughter I though me and him could do it together,” said Ormsby.