Ad­dress­ing state’s short­age of con­struc­tion work­ers

The Denver Post - - OPINION -


I loved the ar­ti­cle by Erin Dou­glas about the short­age of work­ers in the con­struc­tion trade. I hope you do more ar­ti­cles on this, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing how schools plan to re­spond.

Dou­glas County schools, when I taught there, sent their stu­dents to Pick­ens Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Aurora to learn a trade. The Dou­glas County School Dis­trict said that when their stu­dent pop­u­la­tion hit 40,000, they would look into build­ing their own cen­ter. It still hasn’t hap­pened. Dou­glas County High School did have auto body and wood­work­ing classes. I know a lot of peo­ple who put them­selves through col­lege work­ing con­struc­tion.

I am build­ing a one-car garage and was told be­fore I got the bid that it will cost more be­cause there aren’t enough work­ers to fill all the jobs. What every­one in the con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion needs to re­mind them­selves: your job will never be out­sourced. True for elec­tri­cians, plumbers, roofers and oth­ers.

Barb Wasko, En­gle­wood

Erin Dou­glas’ story on the short­age of con­struc­tion work­ers missed one key thing in the anal­y­sis: Dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, more il­le­gal im­mi­grants were de­ported than at any other time in our his­tory — as many as 400,000 a year.

As a builder, I barely could fin­ish my last project, due to my sub­con­trac­tors strug­gling to find work­ers in sheetrock, con­crete and gen­eral con­struc­tion. The truth is, we need im­mi­grant la­bor to do those jobs, be­cause un­for­tu­nately, Amer­i­cans won’t.

Robert D. Ton­s­ing, Mor­ri­son

An­other boom, an­other la­bor short­age. This story com­ple­ments Diane Car­man’s re­cent col­umn on “col­or­ful, crowded Colorado.” Ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture along the Front Range is strained, and con­ges­tion in­creases year by year. More than 7 million will be liv­ing in Colorado by 2035, more than 8 million by 2050. Off we go with ham­mer and saw, adding to the sprawl.

Colorado needs new cities, soon. Real cities, based on ur­ban mod­els, not sub­ur­ban mod­els. Lake­wood’s Bel­mar is a nice try, al­beit hemmed in by wide streets of traf­fic. Down­town ar­eas of Golden, Boul­der and Den­ver at­tract crowds for plea­sure — peo­ple like to go where peo­ple are. Rec­og­nize that the Front Range is now ur­ban and will be­come in­creas­ingly so in the next 10-20 years. Vi­su­al­ize new cities, de­signed from the out­set to cut the com­mute: walk­a­ble, bik­able, served within by mass tran­sit. Avoid the Los An­ge­les model. Colorado needs new cities. Let’s start some.

Phil Nel­son, Golden

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