Help wanted: 430,000 construction workers

By DAVID HELVESTON, President & CEO, ABC Pelican Chapter  |  Originally posted on

Construction companies need to hire 430,000 more workers in 2021 than they employed in 2020, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

That jaw-dropping number could potentially grow to 1 million or more over the next two years to meet demand.

An ABC Pelican instructor helps a studentduring a hydroblasting course at the association’straining center.

ABC chapters across the country are working to supply the next generation of craft professionals with the tools they need to succeed and excel in the construction industry. America’s economic engine is fueled by a workforce equipped with durable and transferable skillsets, and ABC is providing the right tools to the construction workforce to cultivate long-lasting and rewarding career opportunities.

In Louisiana, the ABC Pelican Chapter will educate and upskill 2,000 new construction craft professionals by the end of this year. Through training centers in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, we educate students in crafts such as welding, electrical, millwright, pipefitting, heavy equipment operation, instrumentation and more. Men and women of all ages come to ABC Pelican to learn a new craft or perfect their current one. ABC Pelican also has partnerships with local high schools that allow current students to begin craft training while still in school.

October is Careers in Construction Month, a national effort to educate the public about the opportunities available for a craft professional. Throughout the month, schools, contractors and other organizations will partner to host events that raise awareness and introduce students and young professionals to careers in construction. ABC Pelican is proud to partner with like-minded organizations such as Build Your Future, a nonprofit aiming to be the catalyst for recruiting the next generation of craft professionals, during Careers in Construction Month to encourage more young adults to consider career paths in the construction industry.

For 14 years, ABC Pelican has partnered with Build Your Future, Louisiana contractors, industry professionals, suppliers and other educational entities to host Build Your Future Day for current high school students across Louisiana so they can learn from industry professionals about the career opportunities available in the construction industry. We anticipate that more than 1,000 students from over 60 high schools across the state will learn about different construction career opportunities through handson demonstrations and conversations with industry leaders this year.

With the increasing need for more workers in the construction industry, I hope you and your business can participate in Careers in Construction Month to shed a positive light on and paint a realistic image of the construction industry. Reach out to your local high school, technical college or ABC chapter to see how you can get involved.

For more information, contact David Helveston at (225) 753-2590 or