TAMPA, Fla. — Construction is considered an essential industry that never shut down during the pandemic, and now more and more people are looking to the trade to up-skill or start new careers.

Industry leaders say the demand to fill vacant positions will only grow over the next decade.

“Because of our industry we have a lot of people retiring out and we are not replacing them fast enough,” President and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors, Steve Cona said. “So, you can be an apprentice for four years, and in five or six years you are a superintendent, a project manager, a crew leader. We are seeing all that type of mobility in our industry right now.”

Cona said ABC Florida Gulf Coast is a construction trade association that represents 480 contractors across the Tampa Bay area. He said they offer training in eight different fields and demand is up.

“Anything you can think of in the construction industry, fire sprinklers, for example, anything you can think of we are training for our industry. Electrical is always the hot one that is what fills the most, but also fire sprinkler and HVAC all of the trades right now are all looking for people to come into our industry and we are going to do our best to train as many as we can.”

“The Gulf Coast of Florida, especially here in the Tampa Bay region is booming with construction,” Cona said. “The beauty about the construction industry is many jobs that we have don’t require formal four-year education. So, what we are seeing is a lot of people who went to college, have all this debt are now coming to the construction industry. We are training them up and they are having plentiful careers in our industry.”

ABC is also accredited through the National Center for Construction Educationand Research. A non-profit Cona says is invaluable in helping get people on the right career path.

“We see people coming from all walks of life,” Cona said. “We have people that have gone from an apprentice to superintendent in a very short period of time.”

Cona says the average age for people getting trained is 26 years old. But, Cona said more and more young adults are getting into the trades right out of high school.

“We are bringing them into our industry and getting them hooked up with companies who are willing to hire folks right out of high school,” Cona said.

For more information on the training programs at ABC, click here.

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