High-paying commercial jobs are not filled


At a time when more than one in ten people are unemployed, certain industries are looking for workers.

It’s a fight that Paul Beattie knows well. Beattie owns Beattie Development and Bergau Plumbing, and its plumbers work on everything from new construction to service calls.

But good help is hard to find.

“I’ve only been able to add one guy over the last 18 months consistently on the service side that comes up,” Beattie said.

Limited aid brings limited jobs.

“We have to refuse calls every day, because the plumbing service is an immediate need. And right now we only have three service technicians,” Beattie said.

To solve the problem, the company hired people with no experience and pays for their education.

Brian Crowther is one of them.

“Working with my hands rather than being inside the office gives me a lot more satisfaction,” Crowther said.

Before plumbing, Crowther was a painter and stay-at-home dad. And so far, he’s loving his new career.

“I go to class asking people if you know how you like your job, are you happy where you are? If you’re looking, we’re looking,” Crowther said.

And it’s not just plumbers. Shortage of skilled labor is top concern for builders according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. This means that builders, carpenters and electricians are also in need.

The cost of a local plumbing program is around $5,300 while the the average student loan debt is about $33,000.

The average salary for a recent graduate is around $50,000. Two or three years out of trade school, a plumber could be making around $40,000 with room to earn up to six figures after more than a decade. This does not include overtime.

“Get out,” Crowther said. “Be a plumber. We need you.”

If the commercial shortage worsens, repairs and renovations could become more expensive and take longer. When employers have to pay their employees more, the cost could be passed on to the consumer.

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