Workers needed for construction boom

It’s a sight that’s becoming very familiar. Workers building and building.

“It’s going to be very busy,” said Paul Chang of the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters.

KHON2 got a look at Waihonua at Kewalo, which has been quickly rising near Ala Moana Center. Construction should wrap up this year. It’s just one of many projects in the works or planned for the next two years.

“We were able to secure the work, and the work is here now. And now we need the guys. And the gals,” Chang said.

We also got a look at some of the projects that will soon pop up across Oahu. Projects include a shopping mall in Kapolei, the redevelopment of International Marketplace, the Ala Moana expansion, and a handful of condo towers in Honolulu.

In fact, the value of building permits in Honolulu has jumped dramatically. Last month, the value of those permits hit $262 million, marking a 17 percent increase from the same time last year.

The Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters is trying to keep up with the demand, making a statewide push to hire the right people.

“Energetic, strong, good work ethics, and teachable candidates that are wanting to get into construction, who like working with their hands and like working outdoors,” Chang said.

About 150 workers are needed at the peak of a project like Waihonua. And a journeyman carpenter can make up to $40 an hour.

Places like Honolulu Community College offer “earn as you learn” programs.

“There is a need out there and we’re helping to go and fulfill that,” said Keala Chock, Dean of Honolulu Community College.

HCC has been seeing a steady increase in enrollment, registering more apprentices because of the upswing in construction.

“We’ve been working closely with our partners in the high school. We have a construction academy program actually going out there to help recruit students,” Chock said.

“The work is something that you can be proud of at the end of the day. When you can walk back, look back at what you’ve done,” Chang said.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this industry, you can contact the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters at (808) 847-5761 ext. 198, or visit 1311 Houghtailing Street.

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