Before the Building Industry Association (BIA) rolls out its Parade of Homes event July 13-28 at Evans Farm in Lewis Center, the builders hosted Trades at the Parade on Friday to give area career center students a first-hand look at the homebuilding process.
The schools invited to the construction site included the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC), Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Fort Hayes Career Center and the YouthBuild Columbus Community School.
“It’s a great day to be in the construction industry,” said Bob Skinner, owner of Sierra Custom Homes. “Here at the Parade of Homes, you’re seeing the best of the best in Central Ohio builders.”
Skinner said in recent years, the construction industry has seen a shortage of skilled labor. He told the DACC students, who stopped at one of his home projects, that the average starting wage in the construction trades is $30.54 per hour.
“We’d take you today right after school lets out if we could,” said Jim Wright, a Residential Design Solutions architect.
Skinner said the homes need to be finished by July 9. He added the weather has been “brutal” at times, but construction has continued through it all.
“Every single trade is looking for people,” Skinner said. “Tradewise, there is a huge lack of youth right now.”
Gene Scott, the DACC Construction Technology teacher for the past 26 years, told Skinner that in the past three years, he has seen his class size grow from 12 students to 20-plus.
Scott told his students to ask all the questions they could think of because this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along very often.
According to BIA information:
• 92 percent of the companies polled are looking for a combination of skilled and unskilled workers
• 86.1 percent of construction companies offer training
• 71 percent of companies polled want to hire 1-7 people in the next year and 23.4 percent want to hire 8-20 or more people
• 73.6 percent offer health insurance, 69.6 percent offer paid time off, 61.6 percent offer 401k Profit sharing and 17.6 percent offer additional benefits and bonuses
• 29.3 percent of construction companies pay starting employees $33,000 to $45,000 or more per year
• 38 percent pay skilled labor $47,000 to $81,000 or more per year
• Opportunities in carpentry, electric, plumbing, HVAC, masonry, painting and more
Michelle Southall, a DACC student, said after she graduates high school, she wants to be a plumbing pipefitter working on new construction like her father, who has been in the industry for over 30 years. She said it was “sweet to be on a regular job site.”
Southall added she has already signed up with Plumber’s and Pipefitter’s Local 189.
“I’m waiting to hear back from them to take my aptitude test and interview,” she said.
Noah Orr, a DACC student, said the homes were amazing dream homes, and he would like to own a home as spacious, some day. He said he is thinking of going into framing or demolition in the construction trades.
“I would actually like to try all of it by doing every trade there is,” he said.
Mark Goucher, a DACC student, said he was learning a lot compared to what actually happens in the lab at school. He said his father was in the construction trades a long time ago and taught him some of the tricks of the trade.
“I thought it was very interesting,” he said.
DACC student Robert Borden said his brother works in construction, primarily doing woodworking and carpentry.
“He taught me through the years to measure and cut wood,” he said. “I wouldn’t mine building homes. I suppose I’ll apply and see what happens.”
According to BIA, nearly 150 students and instructors from the career centers attended the event, touring the 14 houses being built by 12 builders: 3 Pillar Homes, ALTA Design Build, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Bob Webb Homes, Coppertree Homes, Cua Builders, Guzzo & Garner Custom Builders, Kenric Fine Homes, Maronda Homes, P & D Builders, Sierra Custom Homes and Stonecliff Homes.
“This is an event for our industry to be able to show first-hand how impactful and rewarding a career in residential construction can be,” said Matt Callahan, BIA president. “Trades at the Parade provides students with a front-row seat into the various skills that are necessary to succeed in the industry.”
The Evans Farm development is zoned for 2,182 single-family lots and 900 mixed-use attached multifamily units (apartments), featuring traditional architectural styles, including craftsman, Cape Cod and Victorian. The development will contain a number of shops, restaurants, 350 acres of park space, and two scenic lakes stocked with fish. Everything within Evans Farm will be within walking or biking distance of each other.
Evans Farm broke ground in late 2016, and the first year involved the installation of the infrastructure of the community — sewer and utilities. According to developers, it will be 2030 before Evans Farm is fully built out.
The Building Industry Association of Central Ohio has represented the homebuilding industry in the region for more than 75 years. The BIA’s mission is to advocate for policies which will allow for our industry to meet the growing and diverse needs of our region, promote awareness of the homebuilding industry and the thousands of jobs it supports, provide a path for professional and career development, and to serve as a vehicle for networking and industry collaboration.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.