Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, made his monthly appearance on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Central Ohio Building Boom and the American Jobs Plan.
Hager and AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc discussed the abundance of jobs in the Columbus area. Next to Austin, Texas, Columbus is now the second fastest growing city in America. This growth means good paying jobs for members of the building trades.
Hager explained how the Building Futures program helps to fill the demand for workers in the building trades. Thanks to the building boom, he sees a growing need for Insulators, Electricians and Bricklayers — jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas and continue to see high demand. These jobs provide excellent pathways to middle class lifestyles, capable of supporting families. The Building Futures Program is helping men and women who live in underserved communities remove employment barriers so they can begin a rewarding career with the region’s building trades.
Besides Building Futures, the Driving Futures Program is putting people to work as well. Driving Futures trains men and women to work in the transportation industry. The program just graduated its last class of the 2020-2021 school year. Of the nine graduating members, five already have jobs, with $64,000 being the average annual salary. Work has not slowed down for truckers during COVID — it has actually increased as more people order more goods online, he added.
Road construction, growth and the American Jobs Plan
Road construction has been booming in Columbus, which has led to congested highways as people return to normal life. Hager said this construction can be frustrating, but it is necessary as Columbus continues to adapt to its growing pains. The expansion allows the region to attract the likes of tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
Columbus is becoming a big city with big city problems — it currently is the second largest city in the Midwest, next to Chicago, he said. This is a good problem to have.
Hager said he thinks the upcoming American Jobs Plan will be good for Columbus’ growth trajectory. It also means good things for America, as it addresses issues such as childcare, education, housing, research and manufacturing.
Social distancing and vaccinations encouraged to keep COVID at bay
Hager also discussed the need to encourage vaccinations as America works to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. He was encouraged to see Johnson & Johnson vaccination sites at Columbus Clipper baseball games. He said his members continue to socially distance on jobsites, when possible. Vaccinations are strongly encouraged to protect families and keep this virus at bay, he said.