Northwest Construction Boon
Building slowed for a number of years following the crash, said Janaya Goselin, Bellingham realtor for Keller Williams Western Realty which subsequently has led to an ‘inventory shortage’ in the home and commercial sectors. Demand is up. In a recent statement, Becky Raney, COO of Bellingham’s Print and Copy Factory said she had noticed based upon their 2017 sales, that Whatcom County manufacturing and construction businesses were very busy this past year. Charles (Wayne) Crider, Executive Officer of SICBA (Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association) concurs it was the same in Skagit County and reports 2017 was a ‘very busy year’ for their members as well. In a statement, Crider said, “Helping our members find workers has been a huge hurdle but it seems more young people are becoming interested in working in the construction trades.” SICBA provides over $7000 in scholarships to students interested in entering the Building Industry, says Crider, adding that they are looking forward to seeing [the students] prosper over the next few years. In 2018, they anticipate another busy year and expect it to be ‘rewarding’ for the industry. Crider closes his statement saying, “we will work to make housing as affordable as possible for all.”
As Crider mentioned it seems more young people are interested in working in the construction trades. Indeed, up by the Canadian border in Lynden, WA, Whatcom non-profit, Technic Training Center, is helping “high school students develop skills for future careers while exploring woodworking, modern manufacturing, and business.” Program Director, John Slagle said their organization’s three areas of focus are: Shop Building, Personal Projects and Community Projects. Whether students are learning shop safety, being the ‘customer of their own efforts’ through a personal project or fulfilling the ‘product need’ of a member of the community, students ‘build a resume of experience’ while simultaneously developing the ‘workplace soft-skills’ employers require from a worker and team member. Students’ curriculum is extensive covering trades and skills like Forestry and Wood Science, Machine Operations, Product Design, Blueprints, & Testing, CAD Design / CNC Machining, and LEAN Manufacturing to name a few. They also address business management issues such as Cost Analysis, Finance, Record Keeping, Product Marketing and Sales. Slagle says they aim to help their students design and develop projects that gain them ‘hands-on’ experience but also help them to discover their own ‘distinct path’ toward furthering their education and careers.
(Source: What’s Your Perspective? 2017 Year in Review)