There’s a troubling flip side to Tennessee’s record low unemployment – a worker shortage. State lawmakers are hearing about it from companies and businesses in their districts.
“We desperately need workers in Tennessee, not just in manufacturing and construction, but across the board in hospitality,” said Toby Compton with Associated Builders and Contractors.
“There’s job fairs on top of job fairs on top of job fairs,” said State Rep. David Hawk.
“In my district, I have several manufacturing companies who would love to hire,” said State Rep. Jeremy Faison.
Both Hawk and Faison know about the worker shortage all too well. It begins with construction sites needing workers.
“Construction is facing a particular challenge aging out a lot of people in our industry, particularly with carpentry, electricians, HVAC and plumbing,” said Compton.
Compton heads Tennessee’s Associated Builders and Contractors group. He’s working to change the lack of skilled workers needed to fill Tennessee’s building room.
“We have sort of put down certain trades. We need to recreate that and tell people these are honorable professions and very well paid professions by the way and there is lots of opportunity for them,” Compton said.
Much of it is detailed in a statewide marketing campaign called Go Build Tennessee. It’s aimed at getting everyone from middle schoolers to young adults interested in the construction trades and thinking about becoming workers like these.
The message is the same from every corner of the state: Tennessee needs workers.