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Cincinnati's construction industry powered through pandemic — and now it needs new talent

WCPO TQL stadium construction.png
Posted at 6:04 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 18:29:24-04

CINCINNATI — The sounds of construction never stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as other industries skidded to a halt due to new health restrictions and supply chain complications. Cincinnatians resuming “normal” life in 2021 will have new places to do it: TQL Stadium, the permanent home of FC Cincinnati, and the Ovation music venue, for a start.

Longterm industry members such as David Spaulding, vice president and manager of Turner Construction’s Cincinnati office, hope the relative stability of construction work will entice more people to enter their field.

“(During) one of the worst pandemics in our lifetime, most of our people stayed at work,” he said Wednesday. “A lot of people dug down deep, they got a lot of work done, and I think it's going to help the community.”

And outlook for the future is still good, according to Allied Construction Industries executive director Jordan Vogel.

“The construction industry were able to feed their families and stay in their jobs — but, having said that, because the pandemic affected so many other industries, what's happening is, in 2021, there's a greater need for construction talent than there was in 2020,” he said.

How much greater? Vogel predicts a nationwide need for 430,000 new construction workers in 2021 compared to 2020.

“What the means is, we’ve got to be pretty aggressive about finding and training that talent,” he said. “And the good news is our employers are aggressive about it.”

Turner Construction is an international company, but local manager Spaulding said he’s focused on recruiting locally and developing talent in the Cincinnati area.

Vogel said there’s lots here already, and he predicts the industry will stay strong.

“Always have been, still are,” he said. “Probably will be for the foreseeable future.”