Building You: Construction laborers, skilled workers in demand

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 7:04 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Local business owners are hiring for skilled workers and laborers for various construction projects, including building new houses.

“There’s enough work out there, that somebody can instantly create job security, just by being a good skilled carpenter or laborer,” said Jason Wenzel, owner of Jason Wenzel Framing.

WORKING WEDNESDAY: There's a demand for skilled workers and laborers in construction. In today's #BuildingYou segment on...

Posted by Lily Wu - KWCH on Wednesday, March 10, 2021

According to the Realtors of South Central Kansas, new construction of houses increased 17.3% when comparing January 2020 to January 2021. The average sale price of new homes in January was $319,735, up 5.0% from the same period last year.

This has kept home builders like Paul Gray of Paul Gray Homes busy throughout the pandemic.

“It’s been a very good year for us, as an industry and as a company. It gives us an opportunity to continue to grow Wichita, increase the tax base, and give the people who buy from us, everything they want,” said Gray.

During the pandemic, Gray said people building homes are increasingly requesting homes with offices, gyms, and entertainment spaces.

“The kids rooms are getting a little bigger than just a year or two ago. I think all of that is a reflection of making sure people’s space is going to be best suited for them in all different climates,” said Gray.

Both business owners said they want to end the stigma surrounding manual labor.

“Success is built on the ability to work hard, to take pride in what you do, no matter what it is,” said Gray. “Be a hard worker. Have discipline in everything you do.”

“(It’s) terribly hard to find good help anymore and that’s been kind of an ongoing problem,” said Wenzel. “Good carpenters make good money, especially people that get good and can specialize in a trade. They can make a nice living and have a little bit of freedom.”

Technical schools like WSU Tech offer programs in carpentry and construction science. To learn more about the programs, click here, or to learn more about the costs, click here.

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