CAPE CORAL, Fla. - WINK News is learning a construction boom in Cape Coral is actually concerning some in the industry. The number of homes under construction is good news. But we found out there aren't enough skilled workers for all those new jobs.
During the recession, a lot of the qualified labor force left to find jobs elsewhere, and haven't come back. This comes as, today, Cape Coral sees the highest spike in home construction in about six years.
Edward Ramos is one busy guy. Owner of Ramos Builders, Inc, he's noticed the increase in demand for new homes, and with it, the demand for qualified people to get them built.
"Some of the challenges the industry is facing, is the shortage of labor now, to get some of the work accomplished," said Ramos.
WINK News took a look at the number of single family home permits pulled over the past several years. They hit their peak in 2013, at almost 450 permits pulled. And the numbers are already looking good for 2014.
"The money is back, jobs are being created, people are moving down," said Moe Beneke, Exec. Director of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.
She says there's not enough skilled workers to go around. "It's the electricians, it's the carpenters, it's the drywall guys and their crews. The companies that do that sort of thing are still here. They just need crews," said Beneke.
She's hoping Florida House Bill 147 will fix that problem. It's designed to educate a new work force in a construction arena. "Representative Caldwell has put forward one with the house to train people in the trade of masonry," she said.
"We're not experiencing it as badly as some other newer builders, but regardless, it is a challenge that the industry is going to be facing," said Ramos.
Beneke says it's important to have those qualified workers. You don't want someone who doesn't know what they're doing come in and try to make a quick buck.