Pittsburgh region has thousands of job opportunities, Builders Guild says
Now’s the time for someone to pursue a career in the building trades, according to the head of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania.
“There are literally thousands of opportunities. We’ve been bringing in record numbers of apprentices for the last two years,” said Jeff Nobers, executive director of the guild.
The guild represents 16 building trade unions, eight affiliated general and specialty contractor associations, and the Pittsburgh Construction & Building Trades Council.
On Friday and Saturday, the guild is hosting “Build On… Careers in the Construction and the Allied Industries” at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It’s being held to dispel any negative perceptions people may have about pursuing a career in building, Nobers said. Friday’s events are open to students at school districts in the region and Saturday is open to the public.
“We are at literally 100 percent employment,” Nobers said. “There is nobody waiting to get an assignment. It’s a good problem to have, obviously.”
Chances are good to get into a paid apprenticeship program, Nobers said. Apprenticeship programs require an outlay of a few hundred dollars for training materials and union dues and, within a few weeks, an apprentice will be making between $17 and $23 per hour, depending on their trade, to start their on-the-job training, Nobers said.
“You’re out working pretty much within a couple weeks. A large bulk of the training is hands-on, job training and refining your skills,” he said.
The building market is booming in the region because of construction projects including the cracker plant in Beaver County, which is expected to employ about 6,000 people this summer, Nobers said.
The industry also is facing upcoming retirements because of aging Baby Boomers, which means there’s a “need to back-fill” the positions that open up because of those retirements, he said.
Non-residential construction in 2019 was expected to be more than $5 billion in the region — up from about $4.9 billion in 2018. That’s double the $2.8 billion that a “normal market” is, generally speaking, Nobers said.
“It’s going to be busy to say the least,” he said.
The weekend event will give those involved in the building trades the chance to promote the benefits of pursuing a career in them, he said.
While construction isn’t for everybody, it is a solid career choice that requires minimal cash investment compared to college and those who pursue a career in the field can earn college credits for their on-the-job work and otherwise can develop skills to have a successful career, Nobers said.
“There’s just so many paths and opportunities for people,” he said.
For more information, visit: www.buildersguild.org
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .