Falls' new ISD Skilled Training Center might be solution to skilled labor shortage

Contractors said they believe a solution might be the new Wichita Falls ISD Skilled Training Center.

The skilled labor shortage has taken its toll on contractors, like North Texas Home Builders Association Vice President Barney Brock. He said he had to scale back.

"We built four homes instead of 24 homes a year," said Brock.

Contractors turn to staffing companies to fill skilled labor positions, like electricians, bricklayers, and plumbers, but even staffing companies are having a tough time.

"We've always got 20-30 open orders," said MyStaf President Bert Huff.

Open orders from contractors looking for skilled workers.

"We know of a lot of companies that have given us the assignment that we ever see someone with these skills call them," Huff said.

Barney Brock said one of the biggest problems the construction industry is facing is an aging workforce.

"Licensed subs are well over 50-years-old and trying to get new younger people involved in our construction trade has been pretty non-existent," said Brock.

But the industry experts said the new Falls' ISD Skilled Training Center may be the solution to adding new, younger workers into the industry.

"Teach them electric work, plumbing, bricklaying so we're hopeful that in the next few years that will take hold," said Brock.

He said he's worked with everyone to help build the workforce.

"We talked to the school board superintendent about what our needs are, where we're going and we just have a lot of community involvement," said Brock

He said he already noticed an upswing so far in 2017. His company has already sold four homes. That's the best February he said he's seen in nearly 10 years.

Skilled workers can earn anywhere from $28,000 to $50,000 dollars a year.

The Falls' new ISD Skilled Training Center is expected to be open in August.

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