MEDFORD, Ore. -- A lack of young skilled workers moving into the construction industry has caused concern among construction workers.
This concern comes despite the consistent growth in construction jobs over the last year. According to the State of Oregon, construction grew 5,700 jobs in the month of March.
Like any debate, there are many sides to the argument.
One construction company in Medford said that there are plenty of young workers trying to get into the business. The problem is, the company has issues trying to get those young workers to pass a drug test.
Some companies say that the issue is happening within the education system. They say a lack of teaching trades in schools has caused kids to only pursue a college degree.
Brad Bennington of the Builders Association Southern Oregon, feels like young people are being exported out of the area. He said the cost of living in the valley has caused most young people to move away. Either they go to college, or they look for a place where they can afford to live.
"You know we invest all this time and money in the talent our young people have. Only, many times to see them move away. We need to change that. We need our young people to stay here locally. They grew up here. We want them to stay here. We want them to build up the community here locally," said Bennington.
All of them agreed, the lack of young people coming in causes great concern for the future of the industry.
NewsWatch12 will be diving deeper into this issue. Not only in the construction industry, but in other trades as well.
A new special, Skilled to Work, will air on Tuesday, April 23rd, at 6:30 p.m.
The special will be 30 minutes long.
After that, every reporter will feature a skilled worker from the area. The stories will air on Tuesdays, on NewsWatch12 at 6. Those feature stories will also air on NewsWatch12 This Morning, on Tuesdays.