The construction industry is facing a labor shortage and construction company JE Dunn is working to recruit and encourage Kansas Citians to start a career in construction or the skilled trades.

On Aug. 19, JE Dunn hosted a Construction Workforce Industry Day at the Manual Career Tech High School where local construction companies and skilled trades representatives lined tables up to talk to visitors interested in joining the construction and trades industry.

Featured employers included Axiom Construction Group, Dye Electric, Slaggie Architects Inc. and Resiliency at Work 2.0.

According to the 2020 Construction Outlook Survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 81% of construction firms have had trouble filling salary and hourly craft positions and 72% anticipate labor shortages to be the biggest hurdle in the next year.

In addition, African Americans, women and veterans are underrepresented in the industry. Black people make up just 6% in the construction workforce and women make up 9%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This event is important to make sure that women and people of color are involved in construction projects and educate the community on the opportunities in the construction field,” said GG Owens, community relations representative for JE Dunn. “People that are involved in the trades are also all close to retirement age and we need a younger workforce out there and this event is set up today to make that happen.”

Most careers in construction offer on the job training and the average starting wage for an apprentice is about $21 per hour. In addition, there are many different career paths in the construction industry and not all require a four-year degree, including becoming a carpenter, iron worker, journeyperson and foreperson.

JE Dunn offers internships in project management, field supervision, mechanical and electrical and safety. The company also offers full-time positions for graduates including project engineer, field engineer, safety specialist, estimator and ME Engineer. To learn more about career opportunities through JE Dunn, visit:

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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