BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There’s a construction worker shortage in Kern County. That’s according to a local construction company JTS Construction and Bakersfield College. Managers with the construction company said they’re so far behind that they’re worried if they don’t fill their openings soon they could lose business to companies in San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Season Susko is the human resource director for JTS Construction. She said, “Right now we have a shortage. It’s already happened.”
She continued, “A project that would take typically six months maybe take a year and a half. We need workers so that we can get these projects completed and fulfill the needs of the community.”
Susko said JTS Construction is looking for welders, roofers, HVAC technicians and framers. And they’re starting to get creative with how they’re trying to recruit future employees.
“We’re looking for, you know people who are looking to change careers, recent high school graduates, looking for scholarships for trade programs, so we can get this workforce trained and ready to help us with all the construction that we have.”
Britnee Gamble is a recent Bakersfield College recent graduates. She started her career at JTS Construction before finishing her associates degree at B.C.. Now gamble said she’s going back to school to get more construction design training.
“As soon as I got in there and I saw that was something that they used, I was like oh, B.C. has a class for that,” said Gamble. “And you know, I tried to take it years ago, didn’t want to take it. But now I feel like it’s a necessity.”
Gamble plans to take three more courses at Bakersfield College to be better trained for her company. And she hopes that extra training gives her a better advantage moving forward.
“Move up within the company. I love how this company is just family-oriented. And I love that we build schools. I have a child and so probably one of those schools we build he’ll be attending.
Susko said entry-level positions at JTS Construction start at $14 to $16 dollars an hour. And a construction worker can earn a six-figure salary if they work hard enough after six years.
To get an extra boast, Bakersfield College offers construction courses including for a welding certificate, HVAC program, construction management program and architecture/industrial drawing programs.
Carlos Medina is a job development specialist at Bakersfield College. He said, “A lot of these programs are hands on. So it’s 50% classroom and 50% hands on. And 100% employer related.”
Medina continued, “First thing first, we help them get registered to the college, and then we have them meet with a counselor or an adviser. Get their education plans set out, register for those classes, eventually pass those classes and get them ready for the workforce.”
If you don’t need the extra training and you’re looking to apply this week, Bakersfield College has teamed up with the Job Fest to host a construction job fair. Job Fest team members say to dress to impress, bring 10 to 15 resumes and copies of any certificates you’ve earned.
For those who are looking to go to school before joining the construction work force, Gamble said try to talk to a possible mentor already working in the field.
“It’s great to have someone who’s willing to kind of direct you,” said Gamble. “And honestly B.C. has so many wonderful people, so many of the staff are actually working in the field that they teach, and so they’re more than happy to direct you to where you need to go, give you advice and point you in the direction of the classes that you need to take.”
The construction Job Fest will be this Friday August 2nd from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 2000 K Street.
For more information about the Job Fest event, visit their Facebook page. For more information about construction jobs available visit JTS Constructions contact us page. And for more information about list of degrees and certificates offered at Bakersfield College visit their website.