Hundreds of Tucson construction jobs go unfilled

Hundreds of Tucson construction jobs go unfilled
Construction jobs going unfulfilled.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Borderland Construction in Tucson says it needs 100 workers today to fill its needs, but can't find them.

Even a starting salary of $15 an hour and the potential to earn $30 an hour by driving heavy machinery, the jobs remain unfilled.

Morgan North, the owner of Borderland says for every 10 people he hires, nine don't make it a week.

"After one day they tell you it's too far to drive, they don't like getting up in the morning, or it's too hot," he said. "Those are the things we hear."

North also said so many people left the industry during the 2008 Great Recession. His company shed hundreds of jobs, going from 650 employees down to 150.

"You don't know how hard that was, to lay off workers who had been with the company 20 years," he said.

Because those workers had to feed families and make a living, many left the state, others left the trades.

It's obvious now, many won't come back.

"It's not just dirt work and paving guys," he said. "All different building trades, concrete to framers to dry wallers to roofers, everybody is looking for help."

He has 40 projects going on right now but there is demand for many more, however he just doesn't have the staff.

That's where 18-year-old Cassidy Camp comes in. She's graduating from Tanque Verde High School Tuesday night, as part of the JTED trades program.

Even though she has not yet received her diploma, she has two companies vying for, not her experience, but her potential. She has done welding, driven a CAT and heavy machinery, some masonry, all the things that show she's interested in a trades career.

Not just trades. "My initial goal is to own my own contracting business," she said.

But for now, it's grunt work.

"Just start off as a laborer, commercial work, getting down in the dirt," she said.

For this high school graduate, trades are not a step down as some may consider it.

"For me, there may be a couple of classes but I don't think I need to go to college," she said.

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