More than 50 booths have been sold to employers hiring for electricians, landscapers, crafts people and other positions, Morris said.
One of the largest contributing factors to challenges in the construction industry is growth in demand coming back following the recession, he said.
“During the economic downturn, we had a number of skilled tradespeople, especially the younger portion of our industry, leave our industry and move into other sectors like manufacturing and health care and they’re not coming back,” Morris said.
With the economy in recession and stock market staying stagnant, those workers stayed put for a few years longer than they would have during better times.
“With the gangbuster return of the stock market, a lot of our seasoned tradespeople can afford to retire again and they’re choosing to do so,” Morris said. “We have to replenish with a younger group of individuals. We’re retiring two to three craftspeople with every new person we bring in.
“We’re an aged industry and it’s only going to get precipitously worse in the next few years.”
Jennifer Payne, the director of human resources for Fairfield-based Loveland Excavating & Paving, said finding a workforce that has the necessary construction experience is a challenge.
“It’s one thing to go through a heavy-equipment operation class,” she said. “They know to how to run a machine, but they don’t have the ability to work on a team and know how all of the pieces fit together to make it happen.”
Payne said the company is looking into a possible apprenticeship program.
“I understand that, come spring time, we need people up and running that have the experience, but at some point we need to invest time in the inexperienced workforce and get them trained, up to speed to move into the next (level),” she said.
Loveland Excavating & Paving also is putting a plan in place to help employees advance through a desired career path and to their ultimate career goals within the company, Payne said.