continued “I think most times people only ever see this kind of stuff on the news or when they get stuck in traffic somewhere. We don’t want people to come out with this pessimistic idea attitude of ‘oh they’re just holding me up in traffic,’” he said. “We need to show (the younger generation) that infrastructure and schools and bridges and hospitals all get built. These jobs are here and they can’t get shipped off to India or China like a technology job. We need these jobs and they will always be here, so we need to share the opportunities that exist.”
Attendance at the construction event has been down in recent years because of cuts to schools budgets and state aid, according to Ellie Engalsbe, manager and CFO of EMI Guide Rail in Schenectady. The company has volunteered at the event for five years.
Engalsbe called the lower attendance “regrettable.”
“A lot of these kids are in the BOCES program and aren’t necessarily college-bound kids and a lot of them will be looking for work,” she said. “My understanding is a lot of these kids are seniors and we definitely need people in the trades. We’re always going to have residential home building, always going to need carpenters and painters…”
Engalsbe said she believes the general push to attend college has led to the shortage of workers in construction trades.
According to information provided by the Associated General Contractors of America, 2.2 million fewer people are working in the construction industry nationwide than at its peak in April of 2006. The economy and subsequent lack of new construction has greatly contributed to those numbers, though.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy attended the event and took a tour of the different exhibits, talking to students, teachers and construction industry professionals along the way.