labor shortage

Skilled Labor Shortage Plagues North Texas Construction Companies

DBI hopes to recruit employees with a new storefront in Oak Cliff

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Even as millions lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the construction industry is hurting for employees.

For consumers, that means higher costs.

And for family-owned businesses, it could mean an end to their way of life.

DFW stone and masonry company Dee Brown Inc. has helped create some of Dallas' most iconic buildings.

And even amid the pandemic, DBI is hard at work building the next generation of landmark structures.

But without a next generation of masons, President and CEO Robert Vertreese Barnes III fears they won't be able to do it for much longer.

“We’ve got probably a 25-year history of seeing this continue to worsen as the older generation of skilled artisans are retiring, and there hasn't been youth replacement for quite some time,” said Barnes.

It’s due in part to today's mindset that college is the best option for all high school graduates.

While some high schools have implemented trade programs, DBI’s taken matters into its own hands, creating a training program within.

Most recently, it opened a storefront in Oak Cliff with the sole purpose of catching the eye of potential employees.

Barnes said he has about 60 positions to fill. Many require no experience with a starting salary of $16 an hour.

He said there’s potential for those salaries to more than double over a decade with the company.

"We're screaming from the rooftops trying to find people saying 'Hey, this is a well-paying job. You can make a career out of this. You can raise a family with this. You've just got to be willing to work’," said Barnes.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide there are about 250,000 construction jobs sitting vacant.

According to Barnes, shortages mean higher construction costs and longer lead times.

There are shortages across the industry, including in residential construction, which has been a contributing factor to the low inventory of available homes in the housing market.

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