Toledo and Monroe metro areas tied for the fifth-fastest growing construction job markets in the country, according to data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Toledo added 2,100 new construction jobs between June, 2018 and June, 2019, a 14 percent increase, according to the group. During a news conference Wednesday, AGC spokesman Brian Turmail said the city was the fifth-fastest growing among the 358 metropolitan areas that the AGC tracks.
Monroe tied Toledo for the fifth-place ranking with a 14 percent increase in new construction jobs from 2,100 in June, 2018, to 2,400 in June, 2019.
In June of 2010, post-recession, 11,100 people worked in construction in Toledo, Mr. Turmail said, and that number has grown by roughly 52 percent to 16,900 now — the most at any time since June, 2000.
Despite the increases, Mr. Turmail highlighted that the construction industry is facing a shortage of qualified workers, not just in Ohio but throughout the country. According to AGC data, 88 percent of Ohio contractors report having trouble finding qualified workers.
With construction job demand expected to increase, Mr. Turmail said federal, state, and local agencies need to support education and training to prepare young people for such work.
The AGC released a Workforce Development Plan encouraging federal officials to take steps to make it easier for organizations to establish construction training programs, including increasing federal funding for career and technical education programs during the next five years, Mr. Turmail said.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz spoke about the city’s economic development, emphasizing that construction workers are needed to complete projects in order to prevent the city from stagnating.
“We’re ready to do it. We have the talent to do it. We need the hands,” he said. “We’ve done so much in this community, we can do even more.”
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said the region needs to have a good support system, including training and education, to prepare young people to enter into the construction industry.
“We have such opportunity here,” she said. “We are actually building the future here.”
Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the Lucas County commissioners, attended the event with her fellow commissioners and said the county was trying to focus on how to fill gaps in the workforce, referencing programs like the WorkReady Manufacturing Initiative, designed to prepare workers for manufacturing jobs requiring technical skills.
“We’re not done with this effort,” she said.