It seems no matter where you go in Texas, at least one endless construction project is underway. It's gotten so bad that I'm not even joking anymore when I say the orange construction barrel should be declared the state tree of Texas.

One major reason these projects are stalled is that construction firms are having trouble finding skilled workers.

Business reporter Dom DiFurio with the Dallas Morning News reports that 80% of firms across the U.S. (including 210 in Texas) say they're struggling to recruit people for skilled hourly postitions, salaried positions, and project manager and supervisor positions.

Nationwide, companies said iron workers, plumbers, drivers, and carpenters were the most difficult jobs to fill. Here in Texas, companies are most in need of good plumbers, as well cement and concrete pros.

DiFurio appeared on KXAS-TV to discuss the problem, and said the Associated General Contractors of America has been studying the issue for six years. They've found that companies are increasing wages and benefits to attract skilled workers, but that hasn't made a dent. The shortage, he said, is driving up the cost of projects and jeopardizing Texas' continued economic growth.

DiFurio said organizations are making changes to make the work more attractive to increasingly skilled women, as well as people who who believe that blue collar jobs are the only path to career success. (I graduated from high school in 2005, and that attitude was prevalent.)

Texas has a lot to brag about when it comes to our economy, but without skilled workers, the boom we've experienced in recent years could fizzle out. If you know a young person entering the workforce or planning to pursue higher education, talk to them about exploring these skilled positions and their benefits to themselves and their neighbors here in the Lone Star State.

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