Building Solutions For Construction Worker Shortage

Keloland's Casey Wonnenberg Reports

If you're looking to remodel or build a house, chances are you'll be put on a waiting list. The construction industry in Sioux Falls is facing a worker shortage.

Foreman Luke Shoup is working on a Sioux Falls house built in 1941. "We have cedar trim and crown that goes around everything," Shoup said.

The Hjellming Construction crew is building a 1200 square foot addition that will have the same look as the other portion of the decades-old house. "I think it's fun and challenging," Shoup said.

However, finding enough construction workers for projects like this is a challenge in itself. "It seems the majority of the people I talk to in the construction industry have a serious need for well-trained employees," Cory Hjellming with Hjellming Construction said.

Hjellming says his company's waiting list is about nine months. "That's all because of employee shortages," Hjellming said.

Because of the worker shortage, the The Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire has created a committee to address the issue. It has a number of projects, including taking a mobile training lab to several schools across the area.

"We really want to bring in the younger generation to let them know that construction is a great job opportunity. The pay is great, and there's never a dull moment," Hjellming said.

The Workforce Development Committee, which Hjellming is a part of, has also started a summer construction camp to get students interested in the profession. 

"If we don't do something, we could have a serious shortage. That could affect production in the future," Hjellming said.

A future that Shoup hopes involves more people building careers in his industry.
"It would be less stress on everyone else," Shoup said.

The Workforce Development Committee has also helped start a construction club at Harrisburg Middle School.

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