SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A local program is hoping to address a shortage in the construction industry. 

“There’s a really big shortage of journeyman electricians, master electricians just in our trade,” Ben Bills, owner of Falcon Electric said. “I know there’s a shortage in all trades, and it seems to be getting larger.” 

This week, Build-U, a program with the Springfield Contractors Association is teaching teens various trade jobs. 

“Build-U is a week-long program,” Megan Herzog with the SCA said. “The students get to do hands-on activities. They get to tour programs and actually tour job sites as well. It’s a way to start figuring out what are the opportunities in the construction industry. 

Tuesday, students worked with electricians at Falcon Electric.

“A lot of younger kids aren’t getting training, working with their hands at home,” Bills said. “They’re having to be taught how to use tools, how to use power tools, how to build things.”

One of the students learning about the industry is Chase Sloop. 

“I decided to join this program because I’d like to venture out and see what I might like and what I might enjoy,” Sloop said. 

“The average age of a construction worker nationwide is 42.4 years old,” Herzog said. That means we are seeing a big exodus of some of the older workers. 

Bills says with an industry average pay of over $34 an hour, there have been attempts to increase interest. 

 “We’ve had to do that very thing, increase our starting wages and wages in general,” Bills said.

Sloop says this program can help the industry.

“It will really help people who don’t know what they’re going to do to find out what they really enjoy,” Sloop said.