According to U.S. Department of Labor, more than a half-million jobs are expected to be created in the building construction trades by 2024. That represents a 13 percent increase nationally.
And locally? Look around the city. The mixed use Gravity Project in Franklinton is underway. Nationwide Children’s Hospital continues to expand its campus in the Livingston-Parsons area, while Grant Hospital Downtown is also expanding. New hotels and office buildings are going up, and residential construction of all kinds abounds in neighborhoods across the city.
All of these construction efforts translate into jobs for those in the building construction trades. And our labor partners say they are having a tough time filling all of the jobs they have open in construction.
My administration is working diligently to bring awareness to students about the viability of careers in construction. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, the City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools and many of our trade unions are sponsoring a Construction Trades Career Fair at Fort Hayes Career Center. High school students and young adults can explore options in careers such as brick layers, electricians and sheet metal workers with hands-on demonstrations.
In addition, in November I signed the Community Benefits Agreement along with the area building trade unions for the work to construct Fire Station 35 on the Far East Side. This agreement – the first of its kind in the city’s history – sets local workforce goals, enhances cooperation between workers and the city to eliminate delays and disruptions of the project, and, most excitingly, increases apprenticeship opportunities and recruitment plans geared toward minorities, women and low-income residents.
The Community Benefits Agreement also establishes a Columbus Building Construction Trades Community Benefits Fund to offer scholarships for Columbus residents enrolled in apprenticeship programs. Five cents for every hour from every employee who works on the firehouse job will go into this fund. The City of Columbus has seeded this fund with $50,000. We will also match the contributions made by the employees, dollar-for-dollar.
I have also earmarked $166,500 to the school district to fund tool and safety kits, as well as materials for construction classrooms.
Columbus is America’s Opportunity City, the fastest growing economy in the Midwest where people are more likely to move to the middle class and beyond. I am committed to making sure every resident in every neighborhood has this opportunity to succeed – including training for meaningful, well-paying jobs such as those in the building construction trade. A four-year degree college degree is not the only path to the middle class. Building construction jobs are jobs for a lifetime.