A CalFire firefighter uses a hose to monitor hot spots during a firing operation while battling the Tubbs Fire on October 12, 2017 near Calistoga.

Close to 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the fires that ravaged the North Bay in October. As residents decide whether or not to rebuild, many are facing a daunting crisis: a shortage of contractors and construction workers, who were stretched thin even before the fires. Forum talks about the Bay Area’s overburdened construction industry and what it means for the speed and cost of new construction in the fire zones, and throughout the area.

Guests:
Robert Eyler, professor of economics; dean, School of Extended and International Education, Sonoma State University
Keith Woods, CEO, North Coast Builders Exchange
Tim Leach, chair, Build and Rebuild Initiative, Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County
Kathy Goodacre, executive director, CTE Foundation

Related:

CTE Foundation: Construction Corps Training Program
KQED’s wildfire coverage
North Coast Builders Exchange: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Contractor

 

Labor Shortage Expected to Slow Fire Rebuilding Efforts 21 December,2017Michael Krasny

  • EIDALM

    I strongly believe that Donald Trump hysterical policies toward migrant workers played big role of shortage of laborer in the fire zone, another great harm done to our community as well as the whole country by the reckless, unwise policies of Donald Trump among infinite others.

    • Noelle

      not to mention the farm workers.

    • Curious

      Only about 14% of construction workers are illegals. Try again.

      • EIDALM

        Totally agree, we have an idiot as a president.

        • Curious

          Barry is no longer president.

  • Noelle

    Then with the emphasis on every high schooler should go to college instead of career technical school/apprenticeship creates the labor shortage. So many people wanting to have construction work done on the cheap with undocumented guys has caused this slow-moving disaster. Those of us who need work done on our houses need to cough up more money and hire licensed contractors with qualified people, you have to pay more for quality.

    • Curious

      Only a small minority of construction workers are illegals.

  • marte48

    We have already seen this shortage of contractors in the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina.

  • marte48

    Donald Trump has yet to acknowledge the labor shortage in the building of his famous wall.

    • Curious

      Nonsense.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Hmm. A fast-track program for illegal immigrants to get legal, anyone? Current “residents” at detention centers, on whom tax money is now spent, could be candidates! Are we nimble enough, or stuck on (mutual) punishment?

    • Curious

      Why would we “fast track” illegals?

  • marte48

    Construction jobs don’t pay enough to pay rent in the bay area.

    • Curious

      Thanks illegals!

      • Naz shah

        dont forget to thank those that hire and exploit the “illegals” cant be punching down all the time ya know

  • Matthew

    Construction needs people? Well someone better tell Construction! As an apprentice carpenter and plumber, it is hard to get hired because no one wants to hire you because you are not already a journeyman. Also, supply/demand suggests that wages should grow to attract more workers-still waiting for that.
    Start retraining older people while you wait for young people to come through.
    So, where does one go to get a job? Who specifically is training/hiring?

    • Some Dude

      Teacher checking in here. We are waiting too! Somehow this supply/demand does not exist when it comes to middle class incomes in the bay area.

      • Curious

        Teachers are not badly paid.

      • Naz shah

        Your right….Seems that even in the tech sector when there was demand they found they supplied it from workers from others countries versus using and training local young people.

    • Noelle

      This is a common problem for white collar workers too. It’s a cliche’ but networking is a good way to find work.

  • marte48

    If the Republicans are going to start cutting SDI, no one will go into trades. Too much risk.

  • Some Dude

    All well and good to get young people involved in CE industries but it does not address the problem. Where are these $20/hr workers going to live? This is not a sustainable income the bay area. Even the $50k/yr amount quoted after a decade of experience will not pay the rent and provide some level of comfort. These workers are going to move to places like Houston where that same pay will get them MUCH more for the same work.

    • Todd Stiers

      The construction industry, like all of capitalism, depends on a class and pay scale gradient where more desperate people are available to do the dirty work.

  • Curious

    Thankfully, Trump has turned Barry’s disastrous economy around.

    • marte48

      Thankfully, Obama turned around the disastrous economy of George Bush in order to deliver a much improved economy to Donald Trump.

      • Curious

        Barry was an unprecedented disaster.

        • Some Dude

          If by ‘unprecedented disaster’ you mean ‘years of steady growth’ then we agree.

          • Curious

            Facts are stubborn things.
            Highest rate of poverty ever. Highest number on food stamps. Lowest workforce participation in 30 years. First president to never top 3% in annual GDP growth. Wages down. Income inequality up.
            Unprecedented disaster.

  • Todd Stiers

    What about technology as applied to housing? I hear estimates that it costs $250-$750K per unit to develop in the Bay Area – I doubt the budget exists in all the rental and insurance and taxes to create “affordable housing” until that per unit development cost drops extremely. Should take us from cottages to storage units really fast (see Snow Crash).

    • Todd Stiers

      ie, really new expectations, process and materials are needed to get people housed – 1800’s stick construction techniques will not cut it, for labor, renters, buyers or investors.

  • marte48

    While we are on the subject, Silicon Valley cannot find enough qualified IT engineers. Thousands of jobs are unfilled.

  • Matthew

    Next time someone asks you for a worker,call me. 510-773-0586

  • Wolf

    Teachers are not badly paid.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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