By Paul Post
In the 1989 baseball classic, “Field of Dreams,” a mysterious voice tells character Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), “If you build it, they will come.”
These days, Kinsella might have a hard time finding the help he needs as a nationwide labor shortage continues to impact the building trades industry, a problem that’s especially acute in the Greater Capital Region.
“There’s not nearly enough bodies to fill the openings,” said Chris Dudley, a heavy equipment instructor at the WSWHE BOCES center in Hudson Falls. “All the big employers like DA Collins and Peckham Materials are really hurting for heavy equipment operators, truck drivers and laborers. State, county and town highway departments are reaching out to us, looking to hire kids directly out of high school. They’ve never had to do that before. Everybody’s really having issues.”
There are so few truck drivers that the state recently lowered the age for obtaining a Class A commercial drivers license from 21 to 18, allowing more young adults to drive tractor-trailers.