COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — There could be 10 to 25 years worth of work in Central Ohio to build up infrastructure, offices, and more, with the arrival of Intel, which is set to build manufacturing fabs for microchips. But there may not be enough workers to get those projects built.
The Intel project will need 7,000 construction workers, but not all at once. Still, there may not be enough laborers for all the projects in Central Ohio.
“Right now I don’t think there’s enough labor here locally in Columbus and Central Ohio,” said Dorsey Hager, with the Central Ohio Building Trades Council, an umbrella group for the unions representing construction workers.
In addition to Intel, there is a $2 billion Ohio State University hospital addition being built, along with hotels downtown, and Google and Amazon projects on the horizon.
“We’re looking at work that’s going to last easily 10 years, maybe as long as 25 years,” Hager said.
Hager said his organization is working on recruiting and enticing young people to get into the building trades. He said salaries could reach six figures and that working conditions are different than they used to be.
“Is there some manual labor we still do and perform that’s dirty and hot and cold? Yes,” he said. “But a lot of the work that we do is a lot cleaner, it’s a lot safer, it’s not as physical on our bodies.”
The Intel project also has a national labor agreement, in which unions can call in workers from other parts of the country to help fill gaps here.