Economy booming, construction industry worrying
Reporter: Liz Kotalik
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Construction workers are everywhere here, and if you trust statistics, there could be many more.
Dr. Richmond is the dean of Pima Community College's Business, Occupational and Programs division, and she is excited about the numbers.
"At the national level, they're projecting about 1.9% increase in jobs, where as for us here in Pima County, it's great. We're looking at 9.1% increase from now through about 2017."
These numbers should mean higher enrollment, but students aren't biting.
"If we compare the most recent full semester with the semester before, we're down about 11% in terms of head count."
Meaning lots of jobs, but not many applicants, which is a looming problem for many construction companies in Tucson and the country.
"[Construction companies] are optimistic about where we're going, because we can only go up," Director of the Southern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Builders' Alliance
said. "But, they are concerned about finding good employees."
Dunn said the problem lies in the numbers.
He said 65% of construction workers are in the "baby boomer generation", meaning most will retire in about ten years.
This will leave a huge gap, even without the projected job growth, that construction companies aren't sure they can fill.
"The generation xers, generation x, chose not to be in construction."
But why aren't the millennials getting into the industry?
Some say the recession scared them away.
Others say the ruggedness of it all just isn't appealing, but if you want a job, the time is now.
"There's a huge vacuum, a talent vacuum," Dunn said. "There's a great opportunity for the younger generation."