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Construction companies across Hampton Roads face worker shortages

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Oct 05, 2021

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - It is no secret that Hampton Roads is experiencing growth. Everywhere you turn you see new buildings, apartments, and home builds.

But there is a problem — workers are scarce. A shortage of 1 million construction workers over the next two years -- those are predicted losses from the Association of Builders and Contractors.

"We have been through a few things during our 100 or so years and this is by far the worst," said J.D Miles with J.D Miles Roofing in Chesapeake.

Miles knows a thing or two about construction and roofing, being in business since 1910. What he doesn't know how to do right now is find workers.

"Folks don't want to work with their hands anymore, roofing is tough, construction is tough," he said.

His workforce has been cut in half over the past year or so. "It is a tsunami in the construction field without the next generation of skilled workers coming in," said Sheri Miles with Virginia Builds and the Builders and Contractors Exchange.

She says its due to a myriad of problems. "So many people are retiring and we have the great resignation brought on by COVID," said Miles. " Immigrant is also an issue for seasonal workers, the channel to get here has been cut off."

She also says a lack of trade skills being taught in schools or apprenticeships is also pretty concrete these days. "We are not teaching our kids that it's a noble profession," said J.D Miles.

Not only is the labor shortage an issue but getting supplies is also a problem said J.D. Miles. COVID-19 shut down manufacturing sites so getting materials is slow and the costs are skyrocketed.

"From lumber to installation to adhesive to glue everything is unattainable," said J.D. Miles.

So even now growth and the housing market is booming, those doing the actual build are hard to nail down, even in a field that pays upwards of 60 to 80 thousand. "We are not gonna be able to build homes, get your plumbing fix make your AC work not able to get a roof on your house there are no people to do it," said Sherri Miles.

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