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Need work? Arizona needs thousands of construction workers to keep up with demand, GPCC says

Phoenix skyline
Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 00:31:35-04

PHOENIX — Amid all of the uncertainty and stress during the coronavirus pandemic, we know many Arizonans are searching for stability and work.

New numbers from the state Thursday show the unemployment rate has again increased -- this time to nearly 7%.

The Rebound Arizona team is dedicated to highlighting industries that may be able to offer the solid foundation that people need and are looking for.

What could describe that potential better than a career in construction?

"It's a great state to be in and we are all very, very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunities that are in front of us," said Dan Puente, a business owner and Arizona native.

Puente owns DP Electric, a commercial electric and maintenance company he founded 30 years ago in Tempe.

"We employ over 300 people and we're on target to do $80 million in revenue this year," he said.

A huge accomplishment, especially during a global pandemic.

Puente said there is so much demand that his company cannot keep up and is in need of more workers.

"You think of construction and then you think 'Oh, they're not going to have this or they're not going to have that,'" Puente said. "I mean, we have education, we have training, we have benefits, we have great pay, and we have opportunity, and I think that's the biggest thing is the opportunity."

It is a stigma that Puente and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce are looking to bring awareness to and destigmatize. They want to rebuild the public's perception of what a career in construction looks like and showcase the professionalism that is required to thrive in a labor-intensive industry.

"As we started to study the economy and looking at the numbers, it became clear to us that you can't grow unless you can build," said GPCC President and CEO Todd Sanders, as he described their "Build Your Future Arizona" initiative, which highlights various job openings
within the construction industry.

Arizona is the sixth largest growing state in the nation with 200,000 people moving here every year, according to GPCC.

"It's continued to be steady because there's such a high demand," Sanders said of the state of the industry in Arizona.

Arizona's great weather and tax incentives for businesses means bigger and bigger companies keep coming to the state.

As the companies come here, so do the people who work for them, who also need a place to live.

GPCC says there is a massive shortage of construction workers in Arizona, estimating that there could be a shortage of more than 150,000 workers by 2022.

"I really strongly believe that construction is kind of a fuel that kind of feeds all of our economy and it's something that, if you're good at it, you'll always work," Puente said.

That is why he is serious about getting passionate, hard-working people in the door.

Puente even offers his own four-year schooling at DP University to train workers. The education is covered by the company and while students learn, they will also work as an apprentice and earn a paycheck.

"Whether it's... you want to stay in the field, you want to be in the office, you want to be in leadership... it offers all those different aspects," Puente said.

To learn more about the opportunities at DP Electric, visit https://www.dpelectric.com/careers.

To learn more about the "Build Your Future Arizona" initiative, visit, https://arizona.byf.org.