Skilled Trade Event Searching for More Construction Workers in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  On a national basis, industry construction leaders predict a shortage of around 1.5 million construction workers within five years.

The Iowa Association of Builders and Contractors held a competition of construction skills for construction apprentices and for high school students.

“This is an annual event that we hold. It showcases our Level 4 Apprentices and what they learned in our apprenticeship program,” said Jenny Shindelar
of the Iowa Associated Builders and Contractors. “They get this opportunity to come here today and not only highlight their skills, but also really show everybody they are ready to become a journeyman, that is their next step.”

Competitions were underway in carpentry, electrical, and welding.

“The great thing about going into a trade is the time. You don’t even have to go to college,” said Elijah Barnes, of Fort Madison High School, who is considering carpentry and electrical.

“I learned from one of the best, Brett Rickabaugh at Southeast Polk taught me everything I know,” said Anthony Goldesberry, a senior at Southeast Polk. “From when I first saw the electrode, I knew it was meant for me.”

Contractors also use this event to recruit prospective employees.

“A lot of good interest, these kids are here to learn, they’re not just here to skip a day of school,” said Shane Kline, of Kline Electric. “They’re here to actually find out how these trades could help their future.”